Friday is coming up, and what better way to impress your sweetie than by treating them to a romantic candle-lit dinner made by their’s truly? Amaze them, and maybe surprise, with your culinary skills, a nice glass of wine and a chocolate fondue for dessert. They won’t know what hit them… Or, what may have hit you in the head and made you a genius in the kitchen.
This Friday, I challenge you to make them a roasted red pepper risotto with arugula/spinach and goat cheese toppings. Found this amazing recipe on Sorted’s youtube page over the summer, but I was saving it for a special occasion… or in this case, the first snowfall of the year… I needed something comforting.
I think people order risotto out in restaurants because it’s considered to be such a luxurious dish, and slightly very naughty. Others, for a fact, only order it out because they fear making it. Seriously. I’ve been told by a few people that they haven’t attempted to make this dish simply because they fear they will ruin it.
… Guys… the hardest part about this dish is stirring it constantly. Seriously. A little elbow grease never killed anyone, and other than stirring, this dish doesn’t require much more effort.
This recipe serves 2, with extra for seconds or for tomorrow’s leftovers…
You will need
- 1 mug of Arborio rice (SPECIFIC RISOTTO RICE… other rices won’t work)
- 1 glass of white wine (doesn’t need to be fancy, but eh, why not pop open a fancy bottle and serve the rest with dinner)
- 3 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 small onion, finely minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 red bell peppers, washed, seeded, cut in halves
- glug of cream
- Spinach or rocket (roquette/arugula)
- 1 chunk of goat cheese
- bit of butter
Before I start the how to, please take note of PARMESAN. For those that have an egg allergy, PLEASE READ LABELS. Companies have started to put Lysozyme in their solid cheeses, which is an enzyme found in egg whites! Read labels before you buy, and if you’re really not sure, the brand Saputo makes pre-grated Parmesan that doesn’t contain Lysozyme.
First, get this step out of the way so you’re not rushing afterwards. Turn the broiler on, and place your red peppers (cut face down) on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil. Broil until skin is charred and bubbly. Remove and turn broiler off. Let the peppers cool down first before peeling them. Once peeled, blend them in a food processor/blender until you get a nice purée. You can drizzle a bit of olive oil and salt on them to give them a little more flavor.
I feel like roasting red peppers is quite a recurrent thing in my blog…By now, if you have attempted any other recipe, you’ll have gotten the hang of it. If not, you can always cheat and used jarred roasted red peppers.
Once your onion and garlic are minced finely, you’re going to sweat them in the butter in a pot. By sweating, I mean sauté them very lightly in the butter until they go translucent.
After a good 5 minutes, add your Arborio rice and mix it in until its all coated with your butter/garlic/onions. Slowly pour in your glass of wine, stirring constantly until it has been completely absorbed.
Now for the really “scary” part. You’re going to want to add 1 ladle at a time of your broth to the rice and stir it until it’s completely absorbed. ONLY WHEN IT IS COMPLETELY ABSORBED, you may then add the next ladle. Repeat until all of the broth is used up.
Once all the broth has been absorbed, you’re rice is going to be nice and plump. Now’s the time to gently mix in your roasted red pepper purée, Parmesan, and glug of cream. At this point, you can fold in your spinach or arugula and let it wilt.
Top it off with crumbled goat cheese and there you have it! Quite simple, but delicious and romantic dinner for two. I would definitely serve this risotto with a light side salad and a lovely glass of white wine.