Among my many food obsessions lies a special place in my heart for risotto. To be honest with you it all started when I was in college and I used to practically live off of the rice-a-roni or Knorr rice sides in broccoli and cheese. I just loved the creamy cheesy rice and as I got older I was able to branch out and afford nice dinners and soon discovered risotto.
At first I was intimidated by what I thought was a complex technical way of making risotto. Like all challenges, I like to face them head on and came to the realization that it’s not that complicated!! This recipe is so easy, one night I taught Scott how to make it while never leaving the comfort of the couch! That easy!!! It’s all about stirring and activating the starch in the rice. You can modify this with any vegetable like butternut squash, peas, broccoli, whatever you’d like. You can omit the chicken and do a veggie version but swapping out chicken stock for veggie stock. You can also top it with some shrimp if you’d like and that’s a delicious alternative as well! Enough with all the options….
Here’s what you’ll need:
Pan roasted chicken:
4-6 bone-in skin on chicken thighs (2 per person)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, small dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
asparagus, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
Preheat oven 475 degrees F.
Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
In a medium stock pot begin to simmer chicken stock and water.
Heat vegetable oil in cast iron or heavy nonstick oven proof skillet on medium high heat until pan is hot but not smoking. Place chicken in pan skin side down and cook 2 minutes then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until fat has rendered and skin in golden brown, about 5 minutes. Feel free to move chicken around in skillet and rotate pan to cook chicken evenly. Transfer skillet to oven and cook about 10 minutes more. Flip chicken and cook 5 more minutes until skin is crisp and the chicken is cook through with an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from oven and transfer to plate to rest for at least 5 minutes.
In a medium stock pot, bring water to a boil. Boil asparagus for 3-5 minutes until tender and still bright green. Drain from water and run cold water over asparagus to stop the cooking. Set aside to add to risotto later.
While chicken is baking, start risotto. In a large non stick skillet with a flat bottom and sides that go straight up and not curved, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté onion and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add rice and saute for 1-2 minutes more while stirring. Slowly add wine and cook until liquid as evaporated into the rice.
Add the hot stock a couple ladles at a time and stir with each addition. You will want to constantly stir to develop the starch and creamy aspect of risotto. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges.
You might not need all the stock and sometimes you might need more, if that’s the case then rapidly heat hot water and ladle into risotto. When the rice is cooked al dente (taste test rice and check doneness), about 18 minutes total, stir in the butter and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in asparagus and warm through.
Plate roasted chicken thighs over a bed of risotto and enjoy!