Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gordon Ramsay's Tomato Risotto

There are many tomato risotto recipes out there on the Internet and I am sure that they are all very delicious.  There is only one tomato risotto recipe that I have ever wanted to make.  It is a recipe by Gordon Ramsay, the award-winning chef.  He has dozens of restaurants around the world and a total of nine Michelin stars (hence my description of Chef Ramsay as an "award-winning Chef"). 

Many people may not know about Gordon Ramsay's restaurants, such as the Fat Cow in Los Angeles, or Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea.  Instead, they may have learned about Chef Ramsay through television shows like Hell's Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares.  I must admit that I am an avid fan of both shows and, it is through hours of watching these shows that I began to learn about the Chef.  While the shows are enjoyable and informative (as these shows teach viewers what not to do if you own a restaurant or are trying to cook a dish), I really did not learn much about Chef Ramsay's own cooking.  For example, if you watch Hell's Kitchen, you can see a bunch of highly motivated people try to reproduce Chef Ramsay's recipes for Beef Wellington, but you don't get to see how the recipe is made.  You only see a brief glimpse of someone trying to prepare the dish and the end product: a dish that often times elicits a profane response such as "its fucking raw" from the Chef.

I have always wanted to prepare a recipe written by Chef Ramsay and, recently, I decided to make his recipe for Tomato Risotto.  It was part of a special dinner that I had planned for my beautiful Angel and wife, Clare. Although I had prepared risotto in the past, this recipe differed in significant respects.  First, it did not call for the use of wine.  Many risotto recipes call for a use of a cup of white wine after you cover the rice in the hot oil.  That is the first liquid that gets absorbed into the rice.  Second, this recipe called for the use of mascarpone cheese.  I really liked the use of the cheese because it added to the creaminess and richness of the dish.   Finally, I liked the incorporation of sauteed tomatoes, because the skins offered a little crunch (note: I used the potato masher rather than the sieve).  It is definitely better to have the crunch come from the skins than the risotto.

Recipe by Gordon Ramsay
Serves 4

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
200 grams of arborio rice
500 mililiters of chicken or vegetable stock
50 grams of unsalted butter
250 grams of cherry tomatoes
100 grams of marscapone cheese
25 grams of parmesan cheese

1.  Prepare the rice.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the rice and stir well to coat the grains in the oil.  Bring the stock to a boil and add 1 ladleful of it at a time to the rice, stirring well after each addition, until the liquid has been cooked but still al dente.  This will take about 15 to 18 minutes.

2.  Prepare the tomatoes.  As you prepare the risotto, heat the butter in a small saucepan, add the tomatoes and gently cook for about 10 minutes until soft.  Pass through a mouli or coarse sieve; alternatively mash with a potato masher.

3.  Finish the dish.  When the rice is cooked, fold in the mascarpone, Parmesan and the tomato mixtures, adjust the seasoning and serve.

In the end, this risotto dish may be a "go-to" dish when entertaining guests.  It is a very delicious dish and relatively simple to make.  For those reasons, I will definitely be making it again, although I am not sure I would make it for Chef Ramsay even if given the opportunity.  After watching all of those hours of Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, I would fear what Chef Ramsay would have to say about my cooking.


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