I decided to cook Mony a special meal tonight. He really felt like having risotto so I thought I'd make him a special Father's day dinner...you know, cause he's so good to our cats.
Risotto, in layman's terms, is a saucy, creamy rice dish. That is a simple explanation but in all honesty, it is so much more than that. It's a complex dish with flavours that all come together to become more than the sum of its parts.
It all started from a delicious smokey stock I made from the bones of a bbq chicken carcass. The stock was made a week ago and frozen for uses like tonight's dinner. I knew that I wanted to give our jumbo shrimp a second chance and decided that tonight's risotto would be the perfect opportunity for it. I peeled the shrimp and added the shells to the pot of stock, along with fresh sage sprigs from our makeshift balcony garden. This would become the foundation of tonight's dinner.
The risotto started off with sauteed garlic, along with shallots and spanish chorizo sausage. The chorizo is readily available these days and adds a smokey flavour with a hint of heat. Once the aromatics became soft and slightly brown, I added the arborio rice and allowed the grains to become translucent. Once the rice was coated with the shallots and garlic, I deglazed the pan with white wine and allowed the alcohol to burn off, leaving only the herbaceous, robust wine flavours. The infused chicken stock was then added, 1 ladle at a time, until the rice was cooked thoroughly (about 25 minutes). Towards the final stages of cooking, I added chopped watercress that was given to Mony from a co-worker's home garden, along with a handful of parmesan and a healthy spoonful of goat cheese. The goat cheese was added as a last minute thought as I am trying to clear out our fridge before our travels this week.
Since we wanted to give the jumbo shrimp another try, we decided to take mom's advice and marinate the shimp in pesto. I cooked them in a separate pan and added a bit of lime to balance out the flavours. Once plated, I garnished the dish with fresh watercress, along with the lime-pesto shrimp. A sprinkling of fleur de sel added the final touch.
Tonight's dinner, out on the balcony, was absolutely perfect. This was the first time that I cooked something and felt that it was worthy to be served at a restaurant. Along with the sauvignon blanc, it was a flawless meal; perfectly fitting for our quasi-father's day dinner in our home.