The inspiration for this dish comes from one of my instructors at FCI who’s technique and passion just stood out from the first day I walked into his classroom. From properly seasoning to pan searing, the lessons were many and priceless. Chef Jason Potanovich is a perfect example of what the FCI institution values most…the fundamentals of cooking.
One of his lessons stood out as he told us of his days in the tedious high volume risotto station at Daniel. Normally when a restaurant runs a risotto special they pre-cook the risotto in advance about ¾’s of the way and then whip it back into the pan when the table is fired. The reason most restaurants do it this way is because it takes eighteen minutes from start to finish to cook a risotto, and in a fast pace everyday restaurant that just won’t fly. At Daniel the risotto is made to order from scratch! This doesn’t sound so bad if you have one order every twenty minutes, but Daniel is a very busy restaurant and he would have about ten going at one time!
The key to making risotto is to make sure your stock is hot and add a little at a time and really beating the hell out of the risotto with a wooden spoon until it is cooked and extremely creamy.
-2 cups Risotto
-5 stalks of Asparagus
-1 Shallot minced
-2 Portobello Mushrooms
-½ cup of crumbled Manouri Cheese (probably the best way to describe is a firm but creamy Greek Ricotta,made from goat of sheeps milk)
-4 cloves of Garlic
-5 oz of dry White Wine
-1 quart of Chicken Stock or Water
-1 tbsp Butter
-1 tbsp EVOO
Salt & Pepper
1. Blanch the asparagus in salted water and refresh them with an ice bath, (stops the cooking process, also keeps the color bright…Military Green = BAD) then slice on a bias.
2. In a deep pan melt the butter and add the EVOO the shallots, garlic and thyme. Sweat for a couple of minutes.
3. add the mushrooms, cook for a couple of minutes and add the risotto. Mix with a wooden spoon to coat the rice with oil.
4. add the White Wine and reduce all the way down to Sec (dry).
5. add the chicken stock a little at a time and mix rapidly (more frequently towards the end) with a wooden spoon until cooked.
6. mix in the manouri and then the asparagus just to warm through.
7. Correct the seasoning. Drizzle with a little EVOO.