It has been a couple of weeks of very rainy weather in the Bay Area. Some depressing days with the dark clouds in the sky, overcast weather, but then on the flip side, we get to see the beautiful, lush green mountains in the distance, especially from our bedroom window! It has been especially quite cold, temperatures dropping in the 30s in the night, resulting in hail in many parts of the bay, along with snow-capped mountains, making for a very pretty scenic drive! The cold weather calls for warm, hearty foods, to warm your body and sooth your soul. A hearty soup definitely does it, but I love making pasta in this weather, with a rich sauce to go with, and a hearty red, to accompany the meal.
Risotto is one of those hearty dishes that are simple to make, and at the same time provide comfort and a soothing effect at the same time! Risotto is a rice based, pasta dish from Italy, made with a special kind of rice called Arborio rice. The rice is quite starchy, which adds richness and heartiness to the dish. Our farmer’s market has a wonderful booth with organic wild mushrooms like shitake, trumpet, maitake, enoki etc. They are all different varieties of mushrooms, all vary in shapes and sizes and they are so beautiful to look at and photograph! I love how mushrooms make a dish so earthy and flavorful. Leeks are in season too, and they are in abundance at the farmer’s market. They are a milder form of onions, but provide so much flavor to risotto. I decided to make one with these 2 ingredients.
My kids LOVE risotto, especially my daughter! She wants to take it to school as well, as her lunch. If she could, she would take gourmet meals every day in her lunch box! She has a pretty sophisticated palette and it is always fun to see how much she enjoys her food and all the different ingredients. It makes me quite happy. My son is more normal, and would be happy with a grilled cheese in his lunch box or a PBJ sandwich!
Risotto is pretty simple to make. I always prep all ingredients, keep all the veggies such as onions, leeks, and mushrooms cut into pieces. Keep all the ingredients handy, so that you are not scrambling to get them when the recipe calls for it. The vegetable broth should be simmering, and warm at a low flame. When using white wine, make sure that the white wine is drinkable. I love sauteeing the mushrooms separately with fresh thyme, and then adding half to the dish when almost done, and remaining is used as garnish on the top. It makes a very pretty topping, and I love the texture and bite, when eating the risotto. The recipe only takes about half an hour to make, once you have all the ingredients prepped. I love making this on Friday evenings, with some crusty bread, and a good quality pinot to go with it.
Hope you all are staying warm. Make this risotto, that is comforting and soothing for the soul. If you do make it, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instgram and/or leave me a note on this blog post.
Have a wonderful rest of your week!