Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 27, 2007 at 8:18pm

Earthy. Good word, right? I’m all about earthy these post-Christmas days, merrily reading The Pillars of the Earth, relishing the descriptions of 12th century English peasants enjoying their “horse bread” (multi-grain) dipped in ale, their fire-roasted meats washed down with homemade wine, their thick ham-n-cabbage soups, served with slabs of farmer’s cheese. Rarrr, I’m a total sucker for rustic-food writing of that sort.

Which made me enjoy tonight’s last-minute dinner even more. I had John stop for a rack of lamb on his way home, and stirred up a batch of truffly risotto while I waited for him, and we ate both accompanied by the earthiest of wines – a 2003 Turley Paso Robles Zinfandel, heavenly. In fact, if you notice (in my lame phone-photo, sorry, my camera is at Stacey’s), there are flecks of what appears to be black pepper in the risotto, but no, it’s char from the grilled lamb juices. Yep, I decadently stirred the carved lamb meat juices into the risotto, before a finishing shower of freshly grated Parm and a sprinkle of truffle oil and coarse salt, and I dare you to find an earthier combo. (Recipe for risotto in comments, below.)

John and I just looked at each other and giggled like the 12th century English peasants we’re not – John the Jew of York and his mistress, Stephanie Ricemaker of Lake and Field. Har!

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  1. By Stephanie on January 7, 2008 at 8:14AM

    Creamy Risotto
    Serves 4-6

    Because this is already rich with cream, I only garnish with freshly grated Parmesan (vs. stirring a larger amount into the cooked rice).

    ½ c. dry white wine
    ½ c. cream
    4 c. chicken stock or canned broth (when serving with lamb or steak I use beef broth; delicious result)
    6 Tbsp. butter
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 c. risotto rice
    salt and pepper
    freshly grated Parmesan
    optional: truffle oil

    Combine wine, cream, and stock in a saucepan and heat until simmering. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in onion and sauté until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in rice, garlic, and ½ tsp. salt and heat for a few minutes longer. Add a ladleful of the simmering liquid, stirring until incorporated. Continue adding liquid, one ladleful at a time, stirring until liquid is mostly absorbed before adding another, until rice is just tender (not mushy) and very creamy and smooth (you might not use all the liquid, although expect to use most of it, and if you need more, add water; this process will take up to 20 minutes). The end result should be a bit juicy, not dry and sticky. Season with salt and pepper and stir in any desired vegetables (optional list, below). Serve immediately in warm bowls, garnished with freshly grated Parmesan, a drizzle of truffle oil (if you like), and a grinding of black pepper. (And if you’re so inclined, a finishing drizzle of pan juices from a roasted bird, chops, or steaks is a fine touch.)

    optional stir ins:
    1 c. sautéed mushrooms
    small bunch chopped arugula
    1 c. frozen peas, thawed
    1 c. sautéed asparagus tips