Isn’t it amazing how much we take for granted? Take for example eating. We think nothing of picking up some food, be it in our hands or on a fork or spoon (or chopsticks, if you like), putting in our mouth, and chewing away happily. But there is quite a bit of control needed to get from food on plate to in your belly. From the fine motor control needed to operate your fingers to lift the food, to the synergy of jaw and tongue working to chew and swallow that food. For most of us, it all works so seamlessly and smoothly we don’t give a second thought to it.
(Stick with me here. There’s a connection to this delicious risotto, its coming)
How does that saying go, “View the world through the eyes of a child”? Something like that I think… Well, I didn’t appreciate just how awesome it is to be able to pick something up and eat it until I saw my son do that this past Sunday for the first time. Granted, he wasn’t exactly picking the food up himself, more trying to shove the spoon with rice cereal into his mouth, but he was eating all the same. Little hands, lips, tongue, jaw…All working in
perfect improving harmony. Simply amazing.
I did get slightly misty eyed as I was feeding him. Seeing my big boy eagerly anticipating the next spoon of rice cereal, reaching his hands out and opening his mouth. Gnawing on the spoon. His little tongue enjoying the new texture and taste, the start of a lifetime of culinary adventure. It made me proud as a Daddy (and Foodie ).
We thought it would be fun to share a rice dish to celebrate our Baby Boy taking his first step into the wider culinary world. This risotto recipe is our favorite. We’ve been making it for years, and we keep going back to it for both its simplicity and its flavor and texture. The risotto is creamy, the feta adds saltiness, and the mint adds a refreshing twist.
There are so many more amazing things we look forward to experiencing with Baby Boy; his first words, his first steps, and countless more. But seeing him take his first bites, and realizing just how awesome the ability to eat is, was really quite wonderful. Today, it’s rice cereal. Some day in the future, it will be risotto. Coolness. Proud Daddy
Recipe: Risotto with Red Bell Pepper, Tomato, Mint and Feta
- 5 1/2 cups (44 fl oz) Chicken Stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio or medium-grain rice
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fresh mint leaves to garnish
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring he Chicken Stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and keep the liquid hot.
- In a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onion, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and saute, stirring frequently, until the pepper begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- To the onion mixture, add the rice and stir until a white spot appears in the center of the grains, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup (6 fl oz) of the stock, adjust the heat ot simmer, if needed, so that the liquid bubbles and is absorbed slowly. Stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the liquid 3/4 cup (6 fl oz) at a time and stirring almost constantly, until the rice starts to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes. Continue cooking, adding the liquid 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) at a time and stirring almost constantly, until the rice is just tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 10 minutes.
- Add the feta cheese, mint and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well.
- Serve in shallow bowls or on plates. Garnish with the mint.
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Recipe from: William Sonoma Complete Pasta Cookbook