French onion soup is a delectable start to a meal. Filled with so much flavor from beef broth, caramelized onions and ooey gooey gruyere cheese that if done properly drips from your chin as you eat. Take that flavor and add it to the creamy deliciousness of risotto and you get a side dish, or a meal that will have your family oohing and aahing.
The inspiration for this recipe came from the recent Fine Cooking issue. Every issue in the front of the magazine some of the editors write small paragraphs about what they are cooking now. Shallot risotto was the dish that caught my taste buds. My mouth started watering just reading the simple instructions. Caramelize shallots, cook risotto to package instructions using beef broth as your liquid, top with gruyere cheese for a taste like french onion soup.
If you have never made risotto those instructions might sound too simple to be true. You may have heard that risotto is hard to make, that you have to stir it constantly. I want to start by busting some of those myths and then give you a complete recipe to work with.
Myth #1: risotto is hard to make
Confession, I can’t cook most rice. In fact, just last night I burnt my wild rice. Without fail when I cook rice the liquid absorbs faster than I think and my rice ends up stuck to the bottom of the pan. I have never had this problem with risotto. Making risotto only requires rice, broth, the add-ins of your choice and the dish is done in 30-45 minutes.
Myth #2 : you have to stir constantly
Truth is the stirring is important. Gradually adding liquid and stirring is what causes the starches to form. Those starched make the rice creamy. However, you do not have to stir constantly to get this result. Unlike when you are making something like carmel you can stop stirring without fear of your dish being ruined. Just be sure to stir frequently, every couple minutes, and you will have a delicious risotto.
2 large shallots (or 4 small shallots)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup sherry
3 cups beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: asparagus, but into 1 inch pieces
To make the french onion risotto slice 2 large shallots (or 4 small shallots) into thin slices. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan. Add shallots and caramelize over low heat. This will take a little bit of time (approx 15 minutes), be patient, keep the heat low and you will eventually get beautiful and flavorful shallots instead of a burnt mess. Increase the heat to medium, add 1 cup of arborio rice and allow to too cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of sherry and stir while allowing the alcohol to burn off. Add 1 cup of beef broth at a time and stir frequently. When most of the liquid is absorbed add more broth until all 3 cups have been added. Add grated gruyere cheese to risotto and serve. You can serve individual servings and allow everyone to add as much or as little cheese as they would like. If you are serving this as a side you are done.
To make a whole meal cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces and add to risotto just before adding your final cup of broth.
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side.
P.S. I am traveling, I will add a more printable recipe when I get to a computer.
What allegedly simple dish, like rice, do you have trouble cooking?