Monday, February 14, 2011

Saffron Risotto with Garlic-Thyme Chicken and Grilled Asparagus

My hubby set out to make this delicious risotto as a pre-Valentine's Day treat for me!  How sweet.  Not much is more romantic to me than my hubby creating a thoughtful homemade meal, and risotto no less.  It was fantastic!  See it's amazing color?  That's from the saffron infused broth he added.  The best was the finish of Pecorino Romano cheese melted in at the end.  Definitely a tasty and indulgent treat of a dinner.  We had it along side some flavorful garlic-thyme chicken and some fresh grilled asparagus.  What are you cooking for your sweetheart?

Saffron Risotto Recipe: (serves 6)
* 1 small onion, minced
* 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 4 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
* 2 cups water
* 1/4 teaspoon Saffron
* 2 1/4 cups Arborio Rice (or Italian Risotto Rice)
* 3 ounces grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (or Parmesan cheese)
* freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Pour chicken broth and water into a pot and warm over medium heat. Add the saffron and allow it to infuse into the warm broth. In a large flat bottom saute pan over medium high heat add the olive oil and onion, saute until tender (~3 minutes). Add the rice and stir until coated.
2. Keeping the mixture at a simmer, add 2 cups of the chicken broth; stir continuously {don't leave the kitchen}. As the broth is absorbed, add another 1 cup of the saffron infused broth and continue stirring. Gently shake the pan between stirs to allow the rice to settle.

3. As the liquid is absorbed add more broth, 1 cup at a time. The rice is done when it's al dente, or firm to the bite but tender ~30-35 minutes. Stir in the Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper, season to taste and serve immediately.
*recipe adapted from the Delallo Rice box

Garlic-Thyme Chicken (Serves 4)
* 1 Tablespoon olive oil
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
* 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
* salt and pepper
* 4 chicken breasts (pounded to equal thickness)

Directions
1. for your marinade: Whisk together olive oil, minced garlic, white-wine vinegar, thyme leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and spoon marinade over it to coat. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
2. Remove chicken from dish and cook on a hot grill until cooked through (to an internal temperature of 160-165'F), about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate, you can cover it to keep it warm.

Grilled Asparagus Recipe: (serves 4)
* one bunch of asparagus
* salt, pepper, olive oil

Directions:
1. Wash asparagus, snap off tough end of stems. Coat lightly in olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and grill, rotating often, about 10 minutes until al dente or the tip of a knife pierces easily. Serve hot.

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