April 28, 2011

My First Cooking Class


One of my New Year's "To Do List" [I don't make resolutions] items was to take a cooking class. After searching for classes in the area, I came across Sur La Table. I searched their calendar for dates that would work with my schedule and it just so happened a Risotto Workshop was available! I took the class with Laura, a friend of mine from high school. We had a great time cooking and catching up.

Our class was small (only four of us) and there were four risotto recipes... sooo as you probably guessed, we each took on a recipe! Tammy, our instructor, was wonderful. She had an obvious passion for cooking, which made for a fun night. Since our class was small, we got a lot of one-on-one instructions, "complementary" glasses of wine, and we learned proper knife techniques!

LEMON RISOTTO (made my me!)
  • 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3½ Tbsp butter
  • 1½ Tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 oz.)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (½ of a lemon)
  • 4 tsp grated lemon peel
  1. Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm.
  2. Melt 1½ Tbsp butter with EVOO in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender- about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until evaporated.
  3. Add hot broth; simmer until absorbed, constantly stirring. Add remaining broth ½ cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes.
  4. Stir in Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Stir in parsley, lemon juice and lemon peel. Season with S&P and serve immediately.

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 oz. dried mushrooms (1 oz. dried = 8 oz. fresh)
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio Rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Heat the stock and ladle 2 cups into a medium bowl. Add dried mushrooms and let soak for 20 minutes then drain, reserving the liquid (you have to rehydrate dried mushrooms!) Pour liquid through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or paper towels to catch any dirt and grit. Add mushroom liquid back to warm stock. Keep stock heated over medium heat. Pat soaked mushrooms dry and sauté in a large skillet with 1-2 Tbsp EVOO.
  2. Heat remaining EVOO in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened. Add rice and cook, stirring, until the rice becomes translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add wine and stir until absorbed by the rice. Add warm mushroom stock to rice, 1 ladle at a time, stirring constantly. All stock must be fully absorbed before the next ladle of stock is added.
  3. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be tender, but not mushy and it should have a creamy texture. At this point, you can add hot water if your stock has been depleted.
  4. Fold in sautéed mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and season with Salt and Pepper
  5.   Let stand for one minute before serving.
**I do not like mushrooms, but ate every last one in this dish! I guess I like dried mushrooms rehydrated in chicken stock!


  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • ¼ lb Pancetta, diced small (Italian Bacon)
  • ½ cup shallots, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
Butternut Squash:
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. squash, cut into ¾ inch cubes (this comes already cubed in the produce section at Martin's)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
For the Butternut Squash:
  1. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add squash and season with salt.
  2. Cook for 6 minutes, until golden on all sides. Add brown sugar and cook until the squash is caramelized and tender, but not mushy.
  3. Set aside and keep warm.
For the Risotto:
  1. Bring chicken stock to a boil oven high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm. Heat EVOO in a heavy bottomed sauce pan; add pancetta and saute until lightly brown; add shallots- stirring until softened.
  2. Pour in the Arborio rice, sage and thyme; cook for 4 minutes, stirring until well coated.
  3. Turn heat to high and add the white wine; simmer until mostly absorbed. Add the hot stock ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed by the rice. Continue to add stock ½ cup at a time, stirring to release the starch. Check rice for done-ness after 18 minutes; rice should be al dente but cooked through.
  4. Stir in Italian parsley and S&P. Gently fold into the squash.
  5. Serve immediately with Sage Brown Butter
For the Sage Brown Butter:
  1. Over medium heat, melt the butter and cook 2-3 minutes with sage until it begins to brown.
  2. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour over risotto once risotto is finished.

LEFT: Wild Mushroom Risotto
TOP RIGHT: Lemon Risotto
BOTTOM: Butternut Squash and Pancetta Risotto

  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 cups Arborio Rice
  • ¼ lb. chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • Small pieces white chocolate, to shave for garnish
  1. Bring milk, sugar, and vanilla beans to a bare simmer over low heat for 10 minutes to infuse vanilla flavor. Remove the bean pods and keep the milk hot.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring until the rice is hot, about 2 minutes.
  3. Begin adding the hot milk, 1 ladle at a time, stirring often and adding more milk when the previous addition has been absorbed. Adjust heat to maintain a nice simmer. It will take about 20 minutes for the rice to become creamy and al dente. *It is possible you may not need all of the milk.
  4. Remove risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and chopped chocolate. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts, shave white chocolate over the top and serve.

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