A delicious blend of creaminess with the aromatic lemongrass make this the perfect risotto for an Italian-Thai fusion style meal. I like to counter-balance the lemony flavor of the risotto with something more unami. A grilled steak, or, if you are vegetarian, something to the line of a mushroom sautée.
- 4 cups (~1000ml) vegetable stock
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 400ml coconut milk
- 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass
- 3 medium sized cloves garlic
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 small red onion
- fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)
- olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- coconut shavings (for decoration)
- spring onions (or chives) finely chopped (for decoration)
The day before
We will prepare our risotto moistening ingredient first. It requires a good 12h of head start to ensure that you are extracting as much flavor as you can.
- start off by coarsely cutting you lemmon grass and then "crack" it by slamming it with a blunt object(like the back of your knife)
- finely chop 2 of the garlic cloves
- in a deep saucepan, add 300ml of the coconut milk, and the 1 liter of vegetable stock(4 cups), you could sub it for a chicken or meat stock if you please, and bring to a gentle boil
- in a skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, and add the garlic and lemon grass
- when the garlic starts looking like it could brown, pour the remaining 100ml of coconut milk in the skillet. Stir well, scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure you are getting all the flavors into the coconut milk
- After a minute or so, transfer the contents of the skillet to the simmering mixture of stock and coconut milk (with stalks and all)
- season to taste with salt and some pepper (the lemon grass flavor will be mild at this point of time)
- after it comes back up to a boil, give it a couple more minutes, then turn off the heat and reserve it
- when it cools off, pop it in the fridge for at least 12 hours
The day of the meal
We are now pretty much all set to go about our risotto. Get ready for a good
- reheat the stock mixture from yesterday
- when it is hot (you don't need to bring it to a boil), strain it through a sieve into a saucepan (heating it will make it easier to sieve)
- while that drips merrily, finely chop your red onion and garlic.
- put that back on the stove and keep it at a gentle simmer
- in a pan big enough for your risotto, heat up some olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) over medium heat
- add the onions and sautée until they are softened
- add the garlic and give that another minute
- up the heat and add in the risotto rice and stir well to make sure it is all coated with the now flavored olive oil
From now on - you'll only stop stirring when the risotto is done, so get ready for a good 15 - 20 minutes of oven time.
- toast the rice for a couple of minutes - stir constantly to avoid burning
- add in all of the white wine - still stirring
- once it comes back to a boil, lower your heat to a medium / medium low intensity
- keep stirring an when it starts to dry up, add a ladle or two of your boiling stock mixture to keep it wet
(you want to add enough liquid to just cover the rice)
- after about 10-12 minutes, your risotto should be nearing completion, take a grain or two of rice and bite into them. They should still be tender but still crunchy in the center
- correct any salt you might need now
- Every minute or so, take a couple of grains and bite into them, the minute they lose the crunch, they are ready.
- Serve a portion and decorate with some coconut shavings and the finely chopped chives.