This was one of my most favorite meals that Tom and I have tag teamed on. Tom is a master at grilling/baking/frying meat & fish so we sided with a simple sea bass for dinner, my favorite!
We decided to make a mushroom risotto as the side dish. Risotto is often intimidating because it requires a ton of TLC and a lot of wrist action. The first time I made risotto was in college and I almost set my kitchen on fire. The trick to risotto is never add more liquid until all the liquid in the pan has been soaked up completely, and of course don't stop stirring that wooden spoon. Patience can go a long way with risottos, and the result is well worth the wait. Here is an adapted recipe for a creamy mushroom risotto with layers of flavor. Feel free to sub out the mushrooms for any other vegetables such as asparagus or spinach.
-1/2 pound of baby portobellos, sliced or chopped into bite size pieces
-1/2 pound of crimini or white button mushrooms, sliced or chopped into bite size pieces
-1/2 cup of dry white wine, I recommend a nice sauvignon blanc that you would drink a glass of
-6 cups of chicken stock (low sodium, the cheese will add enough salt)
-3-4 tbsp of butter
-1 1/2 cups of arborio rice
-freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1) Heat chicken stock on low until it barely begins to simmer. Meanwhile, in a wide sauce pan, saute the 2 tbsps of butter with the mushrooms, garlic and shallots for a few minutes until the mushrooms have fully sweated out and reduced in size. Set aside in a bowl with all juices. Return the pan to the heat
2) Saute the arborio rice with the remaining 2 tbsp of butter until the edges of the rice turn into a nutty brown, about 4-5 minutes. Slowly add in the 1/2 of rice, deglazing the pan. Allow the wine to completely evaporate and soak up.
3) Begin to ladle in the heated chicken stock 1/2 a cup (or ladle full) at a time, constantly stirring. Again, do not ladle more liquid until the rice has fully absorbed all of the stock. Continue to stir and add in the stock 1/2 cup at a time until the 6 cups has been added or the risotto is at a texture of your liking.
4) Remove from heat and stir in the sauteed mushrooms, cheese and chopped chives. Season with S&P to taste.
For those of you wondering about the fish, you'll have to go to Tom's blog and see if he ever divulges the secret recipe to delicious sea bass :)