I’m not sure what the scientific definition of ‘comfort food’ is, but I’m willing to bet this recipe falls into that category.
Last week, I made a real risotto for the first time and it was fantastic. I made a riff on a Rachael Ray recipe I had seen on TV, substituting out a few things. I was amazed at how easy it really was — for some reason, risotto kind of intimidated me.
Contrary to popular belief, risotto is not a rice dish. Risotto is actually a method of cooking something, typically a grain and even more typically arborio rice. The risotto method is when you cook your grain adding small amounts of liquid at a time, waiting for it to absorb in after each addition. You can cook quinoa, oats and regular rice using this same method. (The cooking time and liquid to grain ratio would need adjusted though.) This recipe stays traditional by using arborio rice.
After making the Rachael Ray risotto last week, the idea to make a French Onion Soup Risotto immediately popped into my head. Traditional French Onion Soup usually has tons of caramelized onions, beef broth and is topped with melted gruyere cheese. I took those basic components and came up with this delicious dinner.
French Onion Risotto
3-4 cups largely diced yellow onions (roughly 3-4 medium onions)
Cut the tops and bottoms off the onions. Cut in half lengthwise. Remove outermost layer. Cut in half lengthwise again. Slice into 1/4″ slices.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups beef broth (or mushroom, if vegetarian)
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry arborio rice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 oz gruyere cheese, sliced or shredded
In a large pan over low heat (number 2), add the onions, olive oil and salt
Cook, stirring periodically for about an hour (It’s a long time, but it’s necessary for proper caramelization)
While the onions are cooking, combine the water and beef broth in a pot over low heat
Once the onions are a deep golden color and have significantly reduced in volume, stir in the rice and garlic
Add the wine and stir constantly until it is completely absorbed into the rice, about 2 minutes
Add 1 cup of the broth/water mixture and stir thoroughly
Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, 6-7 minutes
You’ll know it’s time to add more when you can scrape the bottom of the pan and the rice doesn’t quickly rush back together — the divide will stay in place, since the liquid has thickened up
Continue adding 1 cup of broth and stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed
Once all of the liquid is absorbed, stir in the fresh thyme and remove from heat
Turn the broiler on low and divide the risotto into 4 ramekins
Ramekins are small oven safe dishes. If you don’t have these, you can use an 8×8 glass baking dish.
Divide the cheese between all 4
Place under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly — about 5 minutes