Everyday Inspirations


~ food ~


Last week I was out shopping and came across a Williams-Sonoma cookbook devoted entirely to risotto. (You'll remember my love of risotto and my first attempt at making my own back in April.) Because the book was filled with so much deliciousness (and was only $10), I had to buy it.

On Sunday we decided on the Gorgonzola risotto with grilled beef -- mainly because we only had red wine in the house and about 97% of the recipes in that book call for white. Living in Utah, we had to make due with what we had. I enjoyed the dish (the walnuts and tarragon were amazing with the beef), but I will say I'm definitely partial to lighter, white wine-based risottos. Let me know what you think.

What I love about risotto is it's such a hands-on dish. I'm one of those people who is always messing with whatever is on the stove. I'm really good at stirring when something doesn't need stirring. Lucky for me, risotto requires a lot (seriously, a lot) of stirring.

My biggest risotto tip learned this time around (luckily from research, not from error): Make sure everything is room temperature. Throwing in, say, cold butter or wine can shock your rice and affect your dish.
{gorgonzola risotto with grilled beef}
Serves 6

1 lb beef tenderloin
7-8 cups meat stock
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 cup dry red wine, at room temperature
1 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 tsp minced fresh tarragon, plus sprigs for garnish
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
Salt and pepper

Lightly coat the beaf with oil and season to tasted with salt and pepper. Grill the beef tenderloin in a charcoal grill or with a broiler. Grill or broil until the surface is browned and the meat is medium rare (about 4-5 minutes on each side). Set aside and keep warm.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes (smells so delicious!). Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.

Add the parsley and tarragon to the stock. Add the simmering stock to the rice mixture a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.

When the rice is tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy (about 20 minutes), remove from the heat and stir in the butter, Gorgonzola, and reserved 1/4 cup stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed platter.

Slice the grilled beef on a carving board into slices 1 inch thick. Arrange the beef slices on top of the risotto, garnish with toasted walnuts and tarragon sprigs, and serve immediately.
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