Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way
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Risotto never fails to please as a first course, and if garnishes are added it can be varied ad infinitum. My wife, Gloria, makes risotto with Japanese sushi rice with great success, but for this recipe I use Italian short-grain rice.
Broccoli stems are often discarded by cooks because of their thick, fibrous skin, but a quick peeling makes them deliciously edible. I keep the florets for another recipe and use only the stems here. Depending on the size of the stalks, you'll need 3 or 4 good-sized stems to get enough broccoli for this recipe.
I cook my risotto, covered, to the halfway point (about 8 minutes) in about the same amount of chicken stock as I have rice. Then I finish it uncovered, adding small quantities of liquid until I achieve the right consistency and degree of doneness. This is the same way risotto is often made in restaurants: it is already partially cooked so it can be finished portion by portion in 8 to 10 minutes when the order comes from the dining room. —Jacques Pépin
- 1 cup water
- 3-4 broccoli stems, fibrous outer skin peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
- 3-4 white mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup finely minced scallions
- 1 cup Italian short-grain (risotto) rice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups chicken stock, homemade, or turkey stock, or low-salt canned chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table
Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the diced broccoli stems, bring to a boil, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until they are tender but still crunchy. Drain and set aside. Wash and cut the mushrooms into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Pile up the slices and cut (julienne) them into 1/4-inch sticks. You should have about 1 cup.