Chances are you’ve eaten Chef Craig Harding’s food. Once owner and executive chef of Toronto’s legendary Italian restaurant Campagnolo, Craig opened hot spot La Palma, and his latest outpost, Constantine, inside Toronto’s chic new boutique hotel, The Anndore House.
“I’ve loved risotto for as long as I can remember. It always reminds me of my grandmother, who used to make it with chopped chicken liver and a splash of tomato sauce with lots of cheese to finish. A good risotto can be an excellent side dish or, with the addition of a few ingredients, an incredible one-pot meal."
Heat stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that stock just stays hot.
In a heavy bottom pot, add the rice and begin to toast the kernels on medium heat. Once you notice the colour change on the tips of the some of the grains of rice and the forming of a slightly nutty aroma, it’s time to add the wine, deglaze the pan and cook until fully absorbed.
Chef's Tip: ‘Deglazing’ is when you add liquid – often red or white wine, broth or cream – to a pan to release any ingredients that may have become stuck or caramelized to the bottom of the pan. These condensed ingredients are highly flavourful, so stir them back into your dish!
Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.
Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-25 min until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. Halfway through (approximately 10-15 minutes), it’s time to add the peas.
In a separate pan, add 1 tbsp of butter and brown on medium heat. It will melt, sizzle and begin to caramelize. Pour into a small ramekin and reserve for garnish at the end.
If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn’t done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock.
It is important to taste often in the last few minutes to get the desired texture.
Once cooked, pull off the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tbsp butter, grated Mountainoak Gouda, and season with kosher salt (about 1 tsp).
Transfer to a plate and garnish with chopped chives, black pepper, brown butter and a little more grated Gouda. Enjoy!