May 6, 2009

Garden Risotto (CEiMB) and Ina's Garlic Ciabatta Bread

This is shaping up to be an excellent 'food day' for me. I love days when I look forward to every single meal...and today is that day! So far, breakfast and lunch have been really yummy and I hope to continue the good food streak with this risotto recipe from my Craving Ellie in My Belly group. I adore risotto. It is so freakin' decadent! There is really no other way to describe it but to say it is pure food bliss. --HAPPY SIGH-- Risotto.

This weeks featured CEiMB dish was chosen by Jessica from A Singleton in the Kitchen. All I can say is thank you for choosing risotto, Jessica. You are a woman after my own heart!

Since I am going for over the top 'yum' tonight, I thought the Barefoot Contessa's garlic bread recipe would go nicely with our dinner. Ina rarely leads me astray, and I have heard nothing but good things about this bread. I think we will also have a spinach salad with our meal, to help counteract all the carbs. I have a feeling that this dinner is going to be scary good, and I am very excited for 6pm to arrive!

Garden Risotto (CEiMB)
2007, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (not to brag, but I am using homemade)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 lightly packed cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 pound asparagus, steamed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of the hot broth, the salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper and simmer, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the broth to be absorbed before adding more, until rice is almost tender and creamy-looking, about 18 minutes.

Add the spinach and peas and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the asparagus and cook just until the vegetables are hot. Stir in the Parmesan and more broth if the risotto seems too thick. Serve in soup plates.

Ina's Garlic Ciabatta Bread
Copyright, 2006, Ina Garten

6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 loaf ciabatta bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until minced. Add the parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and pulse twice.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan and add the garlic mixture. Remove the pan from the heat.

Slice the ciabatta bread in half horizontally, and spread the butter on 1 half. Spread the garlic mixture on the other half of the bread, and put the halves together. Wrap the bread in aluminum foil.

Place the bread in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Open the foil, and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes.

The Result:
First, the'-tastic! Oh man, this veggie risotto was so satisfying and delicious. It was the perfect balance of textures...creamy rice with chunky, green veggies. Yum! Awesome!!! I will definitely make this risotto again. My husband and son both loved it, as well. Plenty of happy eating noises could be heard from around my table this evening.
I am happy to finally report a good CEiMB review, too! I was beginning to think I was the problem child of the group, since I was lukewarm about the other two recipes I tried. Not any more...this risotto was a total slump-buster. Hooray!!!! Now I can hang with the cool kids!

Okay, now on to the garlic bread. Let's see...this was probably the best garlic bread EVER. Yes, EVER! It was sinfully delicious! Rich, buttery, and herbalicious; with the right amount of fruity olive oil to smooth it all out. Again, fan-freakin'-tastic!!!!

This meal was a great way to end a fabulous 'food day'!


Anonymous said...

I love your pairing of the Ciabatta with the Risotto. Bet that DID taste fantastic. Great job.

Sara said...

So glad you liked this one! IT looks great and that garlic bread looks like the perfect decadent treat on the side. Yum!

Geoff said...

Garlic bread is like pizza and ice cream (no such thing as a truly "bad" one) but that sounds fantastic!

Risotto is always great. Glad it was a slump-buster!

nick said...

"dinner is going to be scary good" this made me laugh repeatedly for some reason :)

Have you ever tried making your own Ciabatta? It is pretty easy and usually, much, much better than store bought. It is a super high hydration dough, so it is stick and kinda hard to shape, but other than that it is a breeze!

Jen B. said...

Nick, I have never tried to make my own...BUT I recently got the book, 'Artisanal Bread in 5 Minutes a Day', and there is a ciabatta recipe in there I think I am going to try (along with some others). Baking is not my strong suit, so we will see how it goes!

AJM said...

Everything looks delicious! I have to try Ina's garlic ciabatta bread at once. I found an easy ciabatta recipe, so I actually have a homemade loaf in the freezer to try it out on. Nick is right about the homemade:)

Pamela said...

I agree about Ina...she's got some amazingly good recipes. Both the risotto and the bread look wonderful. Glad to see it was a big hit, too!