On a visit to the local library today, I checked out a copy of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," which of course inspired me to make an elegant, french meal. I haven't actually cracked open Child's 684 page cookbook yet.. but don't worry, I will!
The first thing I made was the risotto, which is quite a daunting task. I recommend pouring yourself a big glass of red wine and doing some arm stretches before you begin because once you start, it's non-stop stirring for a good 20 minutes.
3-4 cups stock (your choice; I used vegetable stock)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 T. butter
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmigiano
1/4 cup italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Simmer stock over medium heat.
2. Add 2 T. butter to a 4-6 quart saucepan. Once melted, add chopped onion and cook over medium heat until a medium blonde colour.
3. Add the rice to the saucepan. Stir it and turn it over several times until coated well. Add a ladleful of stock, using a wooden spoon stir continuously to ensure the rice does not stick. When the stock is evaporated, add another ladle, cook this way until the grains of rice lose their chalky centers and are firm yet tender. (18 to 22 minutes- do not over or under cook!)
4. Add the mushrooms at the half-way mark... (I added them when I was half through the stock.. about 10minutes left).
5. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat; add parmesan and chopped parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
After the risotto was done, I covered it and set it aside. I then arranged the asparagus on a baking sheet, tossed it with olive oil and seasoned it with salt and pepper. I then roasted it in the oven for 10minutes at 450 degrees F, or until slightly browned and soft in the center.
While the asparagus was roasting, I pan-seared the sole. I found that the recipe I used was a little bit bland, I think I would have used more wine or perhaps bread crumbs to give it a kick.
Pan-seared Sole with Provencial Spices
2 T. butter
2 shallots, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
4 filets sole
provencial spices (I used a small jar of provencial spices my aunt brought me, imported from france)
italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt the 2 T. butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the shallots, and cook over medium heat until translucent.
2. While the shallots are cooking, dip the sole filets in the provencial spices, until coated on both sides.
3. Add the sole to the skillet, and cover with white wine. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, until the sole is hardened on the outside, but still soft the inside.
4. When the sole is cooked, remove from heat, and sprinkle with parsley. Season with salt and pepper.