I first ate this at the now-defunct Piano Bar restaurant in Nairobi. It’s so good that everything else in the meal can be very understated. A good dish to wow guests.
Time: 45 minutes
1.5 cups arborio rice (or round rice—NOT basmati)
1 onion, minced
2 TBS butter
2 cups grated parmesan—the good stuff you grate yourself, not the fakey powder
1 cup white wine (not sweet)
4 cups chicken broth—homemade, from a can, or from 2 cubes in 4 cups of water
2 threads of saffron (optional)
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in quarters (not too small or they’ll get mushy)
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly
Plan of Attack:
Bring the chicken bouillon to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
Melt the butter in a big pot (big enough to hold 8 cups. I use a Dutch oven). Add the onion and cook on very low heat until the onion is transparent but not brown. Add the rice and saffron and stir so the rice starts to brown a little.
Stir in the wine.
When the liquid is absorbed, stir in about a cup of bouillon. Stir the risotto frequently. When that liquid is absorbed, add another cup.
Stir that risotto. Add another cup (#3) of broth when the liquid has been soaked up.
Put in any more liquid, give it a good stir. Sometimes the risotto looks nice and creamy without using all the liquid.
Turn off the heat. Stir in the parmesan, strawberries and mushrooms. Cover. Serve immediately. DO NOT COOK!
The steam from the risotto will partially cook the strawberries and mushrooms without overdoing it.
Bonus: This goes really well with the other star of the season, asparagus. Since risotto requires a lot of attention, cook the asparagus the no-brainer way:
In the microwave, on high, for 6-7 minutes (depends on the quantity). Pick off the rosemary and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.