I would like to let you in on a culinary secret…risotto is not hard to make, I promise! I first dabbled in risotto-making when a recipe for a saffron risotto (similar to this recipe) appeared in Ina Garten’s cookbook: Barefoot Contessa Family Style. I knew her recipe would be easy-to-follow and accurate, and it was! So here is my version of that creamy, smoky and slightly sweet risotto. The tricks to making perfect risotto are as follows: buy arborio rice and accept no substitute; heat up your stock and have it ready for you to ladle into the pan; keep your risotto at a slight simmer, not a rumbling boil; and taste the risotto before serving. The rice should be creamy but still with a little texture. It should not be stuck in your teeth–if it is, add more stock (or even hot water, you can always season it) and cook it longer. You do not have to obsessively stir, but you want to stay close by to adjust the heat as necessary. Here we go! Pay it forward after you make this and tell your friends how surprisingly easy it is.
This is a twist on pork fried rice you might order from a Chinese takeout place. Instead of sliced pork, I used ground pork that I seared until it had some nice browned bits, and I added Hoisin sauce, which is sweet, salty, and smoky all in one. This dish comes together in 30 minutes and feel free to use your favorite vegetables for Asian stir-fries: snap peas, broccoli florets, water chestnuts, it’s up to you! Enjoy this with crisp cucumbers and carrots and a drizzle of super-simple spicy mayo.