Okay… it’s the big one. No not the episode, but the dish that comes to mind when you talk about Sookie St. James. The magic risotto. As if risotto doesn’t have enough of a reputation, I was tasked with making heavenly, much lauded, magic, my-mother-wasn’t-supposed-to-make-it-through-the-night-but-lived-three-more-years-because-of-it risotto.
GUYS, I’VE NEVER EVEN MADE RISOTTO ONCE. How in the world was I supposed to pull this off?? I started with my basic process of researching the basic structure of a risotto recipe: chicken broth, olive oil, optional onion or garlic, white wine, arborio rice, parmesan cheese. Okay, easy enough. At least this recipe wouldn’t use my entire paycheck to make…. I still haven’t told my husband how much I spent on everything for the tomato salad/lobster bisque recipe. I just said I would shield him from that one.
I watched episode four for the umpteenth time for risotto notes – three recipes in this episode so far, and there’s still one more for next week…thank God there’s only one restaurant review in the series, unless you count Trix coming to the Dragonfly in episode 3.09… at least that’s still two seasons away!
Three things I noted about the risotto during this episode:
1. There is a ton of green in the bowl Sookie takes to Lucien’s house… what is it?? Parsley? Cilantro? Medicinal marijuana that provides the real “magic” and made Sookie’s mom live three more years? I went with parsley. Much more accessible in central Texas.
2. Apparently Lucien was drinking the wrong wine with the risotto. Riesling is out. I’m not a huge white wine fan, so I wasn’t quite sure where on the scale Riesling actually landed. Standing in the wine aisle at Kroger using Pinterest as my official wine guide, it looked like white wines rank in the following order of sweetest to driest: moscato, riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc. I know there are a lot of wines that land in between but for my own reference and only having 10 minutes left in my lunch break to make a decision, I chose chardonnay for the sake of not going too far down the scale.
3. There is a lot of risotto in this episode. A LOT. What was Sookie possibly doing to one recipe of risotto to produce so many batches?! After I made just my one batch, I had enough rice to feed 6 (but if the Gilmore Girls we’re here, that would reduce down to two, right?). I’m still working on the leftovers.
Making the recipe really was easy enough. It just takes lots of chicken broth and TLC. Compared to making lobster bisque from scratch last weekend the time commitment was much preferred. It probably took me an hour from start to finish to make.
I started by mincing two cloves of garlic and a few small shallots and browned them in the skillet. After they’re good and fragrant I lightly toasted the rice. I then deglazed the pan with a cup of Chardonnay. From there you add warm broth cup by cup until you reach 6 cups broth, but the rice is still slightly firm in the center. To add my own little touch, and to provide more greenery to the dish I sautéd some fresh asparagus in equal parts chicken broth and Chardonnay and added some garlic, salt and pepper. Since I may have slightly overlooked the rice it added in the slight crunch I robbed from the rice.
Because I play this series on an infinite loop, I sometimes forget how great this show was right out of the gate. Aside from Sookie’s cooking and solidified reputation, I love so many thing about this episode. Rory got hit by a deer. JesusMaryJosephandthecamel. And we can’t overlook Max Medina. Maaaaax Medina. You’re able to hear all of this in your mind, aren’t you?
I’m going to assume that if you’re following this project nearly 20 years after the show premiered, you have a pretty well formed opinion on Max, so I won’t baby you on the background knowledge and just jump right into my take. I actually really like Max. I like the way he and Lorelai instantly connected and how he carries himself as a teacher. This is the most detailed rewatching of the show I’ve ever done, so maybe I’ll notice things I haven’t before but overall I would call Max my second choice after Luke for Lorelai. Granted he’s got some major relational communication deficiencies we see later on, but for a while after watching the show early on I blamed Lorelai for not ending up with Max, and I get from a writing perspective it would have definitely ended the show because she was clearly always meant to end up with Luke, but as I got older and continued watching the show I can side with her now on why they couldn’t get married. Sorry, major spoiler there, but again, it’s been nearly 20 years.
What’s your opinion of Max? A few instagram followers gave me their opinion, but I want to hear more! I love totally dissecting every decision made by the characters in this show.
Last things last, let’s get back to the risotto. For never having true risotto before, I absolutely loved it! White wine and chicken broth were totally made for each other. It creates a flavor profile that is absolutely incredible. Now luckily, my mother is in perfectly good health and I didn’t have to use her life expectancy for my experimental purposes, but my almost two year old ate my entire plate of risotto basically on his own. So if you have a toddler you know it’s pretty much just as miraculous.
Rating: Please note this recipe is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. But it is very good, definitely better than fine.
Sookie’s Magic Risotto
6 C Warm chicken broth + 3 Tbsp
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Large shallot, minced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 C Arborio Rice
1 C Chardonnay + 3 Tbsp
½ C Grated fresh parmesan cheese
6 Spears asparagus, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan heat the 6 cups of chicken broth to a gentle simmer. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the minced garlic and shallots until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the arborio rice and lightly toast. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of chardonnay until absorbed. Begin adding the warm chicken broth to the pan of rice 1 cup at a time until it’s absorbed before adding the next. Continue this until all the chicken broth is added. Be sure to stir continuously to avoid drying out the rice. The rice should not be soft all the way through, but have a slight crunch to the center, so test the rice as you’re adding the broth cup by cup as well. Once the rice is finished, remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and chopped parsley.
In a separate skillet saute the chopped asparagus in equal parts chicken broth and chardonnay and a clove of minced garlic. Salt and pepper to taste and cook until tender. Drain from the broth mixture and stir into the risotto. Enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from the Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer