Creamy risotto topped with a good helping of roasted radishes, cipollini onions, fresh beans, and any other seasonal vegetables your heart desires.
I’ve been a bit turned around lately, where my head is moving in one direction, but my body just sits there, unresponsive to the wills of my brain. It feels a bit like there is an imp using my heart as a dais, bouncing up and down on his little platform with just enough force to make it feel as though my heart isn’t pumping freely. The unsettled anxiety that lies under the surface causes me to remain motionless, as if I’m waiting for things to right themselves.
When I took personality psychology in college we looked at perfectionism. There’s this thing that happens with a perfectionist’s fear of failure. This fear of failure makes it impossible for them to take on new tasks or try things where they don’t know they can succeed. In other words, they sit there and do nothing for fear of failing.
This fear of failing hindered my ability to try to make risotto. Surely I would screw it up somehow and everyone was lying when they said it would work (actually, I failed my first attempt nearly 6 years ago now). Eventually, though, I figured it out, cooked slowly, deliberately, and with much stirring into risotto success. The results were bowls of creamy rice that could be just as inviting in summer topped with fresh produce as they could in the winter with butternut squash. The chameleonization of risotto makes it a seasonal favorite no matter the season.
Failure, however, is sometimes necessary. Without failure and the ability to take risks the world would not create, and personally, you would not grow and learn and develop and mold and become. It’s the ability to push yourself even when you may fail or deliver less-than-perfect results that allows doors to open and new paths to be formed. Case in point: Without risotto, you will never get to arancini.
I chose to leave this risotto unencumbered, adding my vegetables and protein to the top. This leaves the leftovers perfectly poised to become that baked arancini later in the week.
1 pound cipollini onions, peeled
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt or kosher salt
2 cups cooked white beans (e.g. Cannellini, Great Northern, Navy)
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter
3 shallots, minced
2 cups arborio rice (not rinsed)
3/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth, room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons minced parsley
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Halve the radishes. Spread the peeled cipollini onions and the radishes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place them in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting heat your beans in a pot (alternatively, you could add the beans to the roasting pan about halfway through the cooking time) and prepare the risotto. To prepare the risotto, fill a stock pot with the broth and heat until warm. Lower the heat and continue to simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the shallots and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the arborio rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, allowing it to cook so the edges are translucent but not brown.
Slowly stir in the wine. Continue stirring until the wine is absorbed, and then stir in just enough hot broth to cover the rice. Stirring continuously, cook until the broth is absorbed and then adding another ladle or two of broth. Continue until the starch of the rice and the stock start to appear thick and creamy. Continue cooking and stirring in stock until the rice is cooked. It should be creamy on the outside, with a bit of chewiness on the inside. Be careful not to overcook.
Remove from heat and stir in the grated Parmesan. Season with salt as desired. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven. Top the risotto with cooked beans and vegetables. Garnish with minced parsley.
Makes 4 to 6 servings of risotto.
*Notice the endive? You can add that, too, if you wish. I roasted it right alongside the radishes and onions.