Recently, I began taking classes at the Institute of Culinary Education (recreational for now). It has been a wonderful experience and I’ve met many amazing people—from the instructors to the sous chefs (Shout out to Jesus!) and students.
One of my classes was on risotto. Now let me tell you something. I love risotto. I try to make it as much as possible because risotto is definitely a dish you get better at over time. So, when I saw this class, I quickly signed up. I also love mushrooms, so when I was tasked with preparing the Mushroom risotto (more on that below), I was on cloud nine!
Our instructor was the incredibly talented Peter Berley. Chef Berley was former executive chef at the world-renowned Angelica Kitchen, an organic, plant-based restaurant. He has also written numerous books, including the recent Flexitarian Table: Inspired, Flexible Meals for Vegetarians, Meat Lovers, and Everyone in Between, which is an amazing book that not only helps meat-lovers and vegetarians share meals together in a way that doesn’t require the vegetarian to eat side dishes or the host to cook a separate meal, it also helps you think seasonally(Remember, not only does choosing in-season fruits and vegetables give you more flavor, in-season produce also contains more nutrients)
I’ve worked with Chef Berley before and I was excited, not only to try out different risotto dishes but to discover different grains (farro, barley, rye berries) to use to prepare “risotto style” dishes. To be a true risotto, a dish requires a short-grain rice such as the popular Arborio. However, you can prepare risotto-like dishes using the same or similar methods.
Here are a few steps to making a typical risotto: