A Very French Friday: Herbs de Provence Raspberry Risotto
I know, I know what you’re thinking. Risotto is Italian, not French! Well, according to the (very possibly biased) culinary history lesson I received from a chef in Rome, everything we love about French food originated in Italy.
When Catherine de Medici married Henry II of France, she couldn’t bear to leave behind Italian food (Renaissance French food was so barbaric) – so she brought a retinue of Florentine chefs with her. This raspberry risotto recipe reminds me of that history lesson because while it is risotto – its flavors come from goat cheese, herbs de Provence, and of course, raspberries.
Full disclosure: I did not invent this recipe. I found it on My Fancy Pantry. I’ve altered it very slightly because I can’t follow directions worth a darn.
- 2 Tb butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, or 2 shallots (Farmers market onions are so potent, I use them in place of shallots)
- 1 C. Arborio Rice
- Dry white wine (about 1/4 cup)
- 4-5 C. Veggie (or chicken) broth
- 1 Tb + 1 Tsp Herbs De Provence
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 C. Grated Parmesan
- 4 oz goat cheese (1 container of Trader Joe’s crumbled goat cheese works a treat)
- Pepper to taste
- 1 splash of very fresh olive oil (optional)
- 1 carton fresh raspberries (she recommends frozen when raspberries aren’t in season)
- Chopped spring onions for garnish
1. Simmer the chicken or veggie stock in a sauce pan. Keep it hot for ladling into the risotto later.
2. Brown butter in a large skillet, then add the chopped onions and garlic. Stir occasionally until onions begin to brown (one trick I learned from Indian cooking is that slightly carmelized onions almost always make the dish taste better).
3. Add the risotto to the pan, stirring just enough so it doesn’t burn. You want to keep stirring until the risotto is slightly browned.
4. Pour in the white wine and stir until it’s absorbed.
5. Once the wine is absorbed, add one ladle-full of stock to the risotto. Stir until it’s absorbed. Repeat, stirring constantly (but not fast, no need to get worked up over it!) until most of the stock in the pot is absorbed into the risotto, one ladle at a time.
6. Check risotto for done-ness. Here’s a trick I learned from Gordon Ramsey’s sous chef: Take a grain of risotto – careful, it’s hot – and smush it between your thumb and index finger, rubbing it in one direction. If the risotto smushes into what looks like three parts, it’s done. If it remains solid, keep on ladling. Or, you can just grab a spoonful and taste.
7. Stir in the Herbs de Provence, lemon zest, parmesan, and half of the goat cheese. Pepper to taste. If you have fresh olive oil (should be more green than yellow), I like to pour a tiny bit in. It’s a little woody, a little peppery, and adds that little something extra with the Herbs de Provence.
8. Scoop the risotto into a large bowl, then top with spring onions, fresh raspberries, and the rest of the crumbled goat cheese.
Voila! Bon Appetit! Mangia!