I am slightly concerned that my future husband may grow to hate me if he impregnates me. Even without a little foodie fetus selfishly feasting upon my nutrients, I already suffer from intense cravings for things like Mashti Malone's peanut butter cup ice cream, Joan's on Third's tuna salad and unmentionable yogurt substances that may or may not undermine my authority as a food snob. Fortunately for my stomach (and unfortunately for my wallet), most of the time my cravings are of the upscale, respectable variety -- like this past Saturday when I got a bestial urge to consume chicken risotto.
Armed with cupboards and a fridge that were already fully-stocked with most of the ingredients I needed for my risotto, there was only one key item to acquire before commencing upon my journey toward self-interested digestory satisfaction: Asiago cheese. I immediately hi-tailed it to Froma Specialty Foods on Melrose and Hayworth, and begged the kindly gentleman behind the counter for a hunk of some of the good stuff.
"What's it for?" He asked, sizing me up like he was sizing up an imported salami.
"Chicken risotto -- I don't need a ton... just a little chunk will do." I responded, eager to get home to unleash my inner Giada.
"How many people are you cooking for?" He asked.
"Errr... just one..." I said, and turned away sheepishly, feigning interest in a jar of truffle salt hovering on one of the shelves nearby.
"I'm impressed. Most people wouldn't bother making risotto for themselves."
No, they wouldn't. But most people don't know that making risotto is surprisingly easy, and making it for one prevents it from becoming an unsightly gooepy mess. Plus there's no need to share.
1 4-5 oz. chicken breast, cubed
2 tablespoons Asiago cheese, grated
1 small vine ripened tomato, cubed
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of diced white onion (can use less depending on personal preference)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup Arborio rice
Black pepper and/or lemon pepper
Step 1: Saute chicken with dash of olive oil and half the minced garlic in a small pan (preferrably one with a cover). Season chicken with pepper. When chicken is cooked through, remove from pan and set aside.
Step 2: Saute onion and rest of garlic until translucent. I use water because I'm partial to my skinny thighs and would rather use my fat calories on cheese, but a dash or two of olive oil is fine as well.
Step 4: Add 1/4 cup arborio rice and cook on medium-low until the rice grains look slightly white in the center, and translucent around the edges. Note: There is no need to rinse the rice before cooking.
While the rice, onion and garlic are making friends in the pan, combine the wine and chicken broth in a pot, and heat until just under boiling.
Step 5: Once the rice meets your visual standards, add some of the wine/chicken broth mixture to the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer. Add some more pepper and/or lemon pepper to kick things up a few notches, and if you want to go crazy with some red pepper flakes, go right ahead -- no one's watching! Most recipes instruct that the pan remain uncovered for the remaining steps, but I like to make my own rules, and opt to cover mine for part of the cooking time.
Step 6: Continue adding chicken broth/wine to the pan as the rice absorbs the liquid. Part-way through the process, I let the chicken join the pan party so that the flavers can have some time to jive.
Step 7: Once the rice starts looking a bit gummilicious, and all the wine/broth has been absorbed, uncover that sucker, and toss in those juicy tomatoes.
Step 8: Just before serving, add the piece de resistance: the Asiago cheese, and heat that pan up nice and good so it bubbles with glorious flaver. Go ahead, take a little sniff -- you deserve it, you ambitious cook, you!
Step 9: Grab a fork, a glass of white wine, and let yourself get down and dirty with the chicken risotto for one. You'll be glad there's no one around trying to siphon bites off your plate...