After much experimentation to make it better, I’m presenting a very simple (yet easy to ruin if not done carefully) Italian dish: risotto. I chose this dish out of my love for rice, and because it is the second most beloved starch in Peru. So how did this happen? Well, that is a theme for another post, so I will just say that rice is consumed almost as much, if not more than, potatoes in my country because of its versatility with almost any other ingredients. But since Arborio rice is something of a novelty to me, I decided to give it a try and make a simple dish inspired by the flavors I love.
Red Wine Risotto, Sage and Roasted Almonds with Baked Chicken
2 large chicken breasts
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
4 Tbsp of olive oil (divided in two)
4 Tbsp of butter (divided in two)
1/4 cup of fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup of roasted sliced almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
For the chicken, set the oven at 375 F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and put it in a medium saute pan with 2 Tbsp of olive oil plus the 2 tbsp of butter. At a at medium high heat, cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Immediately transfer both breasts to a baking sheet and put into the oven for about 20 minutes.
For the risotto, in a medium pan, heat the chicken broth on low heat and leave simmering. Then in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil and butter and cook with the garlic and shallots for about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir, cooking for another 3 minutes, then add the red wine until is absorbed by the rice (make sure that you are constantly stirring the rice the entire time it is cooking). Then add about half cup of chicken broth using a ladle. With a wooden spoon, keep moving the rice until the liquid is dense (about 3 to 4 minutes) then add more chicken broth and repeat the process until it is done. This process usually takes about 25 minutes. Be careful to not over-cook the rice; one way to avoid overcooking is to repeatedly try it as you cook. The rice should be soft and have a creamy texture, not crunchy. When the rice is done, add the sage, almonds, and last the Parmesan cheese. Serve at once with a half of a chicken breast sliced on top. Buen provecho!