Last fall, I went to the Delicious Food Show at Exhibition Place in Toronto. My girlfriend and I sat through a number of really interesting cooking demonstrations, one of which was done by Montreal Chef Chuck Hughes. He was a hilarious, extremely talented chef and restauranteur from Montreal and I looked up his show – Chuck’s Day Off – on the Food Channel when I got home. I watched a number of the episodes and they convinced me that I need to buy his cookbook. (Yessss….just one more cookbook
I tried one of the recipes from the book last week and it was spectacular! The risotto was richer than I have made before because it had several cheeses melted in it. The wilted spinach was a neat addition.
I noticed that Chick suggested parmiggiana or pecorino to substitute for the Kefalotyri cheese. It’s good that he offered these substitutions because I could not find any Kefalotyri. I also used the chicken stock, not homemade veal stock.
I did use the ouzo and we did try lighting it. It burned blue for a few seconds but I was unable to capture that in the photograph. The liquorice flavoured ouzo did give the shrimp a delicious fragrance and taste.
One more terrific comfort food for this non-ending winter!!
SPINACH AND LEMON RISOTTO
For the risotto :
4 cups (1L) of Chuck’s veal stock (or low sodium chicken stock) (1L)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
2 cups (500 mL) of Arborio rice
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) grated Kefalotyri* cheese (or pecorino)
1 cup (250 mL) feta cheese, cubed + more to garnish
4 cups (1L) of spinach
Juice and zests of 1 lemon
1/4 cup (60 mL) parsley, finely chopped
*Kefalotyri is a Greek cheese that can be found in speciality and gourmet shops.
For the shrimps :
1 tablespoon (15 mL) canola oil
12 large shrimps cleaned and de-veined, tail intact
2 tablespoons (30 mL) ouzo
2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. In a saucepan, bring stock to a simmer on medium-low heat.
2. In a large saucepan, cook onion in oil over medium-low heat, stirring, until softened, for about 5 minutes. Add rice, stirring until each grain is coated with oil. Add about 3/4 cup of simmering stock and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock, 3/4 cup at a time, still stirring constantly and letting each batch be absorbed before adding the next, until about half of the stock remains. Reduce heat to moderate if necessary to keep the risotto at a simmer. Continue adding the stock in the same manner until rice is tender and creamy looking but still al dente, about 20 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to low, add the butter, then the cheeses. Mix well. Add the spinach and the juice of the lemon and continue mixing. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
4. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the shrimps for 2-3 minutes. Take the pan away from the heat and immediately add the ouzo and light it. As soon as the flames go out, put the pan back on the heat and add the butter. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
5. In a small bowl, mix the parsley with lemon zest and a splash of olive oil.
6. Garnish each portion of the risotto with grilled shrimps and the parsley mixture.
Yields : 4 servings