Creamy, smoky and infused with mushroom broth, this Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Risotto was an obsession for my guests who asked for seconds and thirds–and then some to take home. I was inspired by a stop-in-your-tracks, gorgeous red bell pepper and a plump spring onion. They both spoke the language of risotto and whispered for me to take them home from the market. Here are the main ingredients for this dish:
|Spring onion, Arborio rice, mushroom broth, red bell pepper|
For me, roasting peppers is among the top-ten coolest activities to do in the kitchen. Keep the flame on medium low and watch the pepper during the process. After roasting the pepper and steaming it in a plastic bag, gently wipe it all over to remove most of the charred flesh (the roasted flavor will still remain). A few bits of remaining char is fine, and even desirable. It’s a visual cue for your diners that the dish includes a fresh, fire-roasted pepper.
|Chop pepper roughly.|
- Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon of butter and allow to melt but not brown or burn.
- Add the spring onion and saffron and saute, stirring frequently, until the spring onion softens, about 4 minutes. Add salt the salt, pepper and smoked paprika; stir thoroughly.
- Add the rice and mix thoroughly with oil, butter and seasonings.
- Pour in the the port wine and let the mixture simmer for 1 minute. Stir throughly to mix the ingredients and coat the rice.
- Add mushroom stock 1/2 cup at a time. Stir the risotto frequently, and do not allow it to sit without stirring for more than 1 minute. When the broth absorbs, add another 1/2 cup of mushroom broth and continue stirring.
- After 20 minutes, test the rice by tasting. If it is not soft and chewy, continue to add 1/2 cup of mushroom broth (until the whole quart is used) and stir. It may take up to 30 minutes for the rice to cook thoroughly. The rice should be soft and chewy but not mushy.
- Stir in the chopped, roasted red pepper when the rice is nearly done (i.e. the grains have swelled, but the grains still have a “bite”–or crunchiness).
- When the rice is done, mix in the softened butter and begin grating the cheese into the rice. Stir after each addition of cheese to ensure that it is distributed throughout the rice.