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Reasonable Risotto

May 05, 1994|MARION CUNNINGHAM

While working on a revision of the "Fannie Farmer Cookbook" recently, I needed to find a good, simple risotto recipe. But I didn't want to call for Arborio rice, which is difficult to find in some parts of the country.

When cooked, Arborio rice is creamy but firm in the center and blends perfectly with broth that is gradually added and absorbed by the rice.

Unwilling to do without a risotto recipe, I went to the supermarket and bought a medium-grain rice, Calrose, which is grown in California. Using this inexpensive, easily found rice I made the most wonderful risotto I've ever had.

With the risotto, I like this lemon pudding cake, which is an old favorite and a lovely light dessert. An almost magic transformation happens in the oven, creating a creamy lemon pudding covered with a light sponge cake.

CALIFORNIA RISOTTO

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup medium-grain white rice

2 cups boiling chicken broth

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Salt, pepper

Heat butter and oil in large heavy-bottomed pot or deep skillet. Add onion and cook over moderate heat 2 to 3 minutes until onion is just tender but not browned. Stir in rice. Cook 1 minute more, until rice is heated and coated with oil.

Stir in 1 cup boiling chicken broth and let simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add remaining cup hot broth and continue simmering and stirring until absorbed. Stir in boiling water and continue to simmer and stir. Cook 20 minutes. Taste for doneness. Rice should be very creamy and slightly chewy in center, but not dry. Add more hot liquid if longer cooking is necessary.

Stir in Parmesan cheese and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

316 calories; 723 mg sodium; 18 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 42 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 0.47 gram fiber.

LEMON PUDDING CAKE

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter

3 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup lemon juice

Grated zest 1 lemon

1/8 teaspoon salt

Whipped cream

Combine milk and butter in small pan and heat until butter has melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk egg yolks until blended. Add sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and hot milk-butter mixture. Stir until thoroughly blended.

Beat egg whites until stiff but moist. Fold whites into batter. Pour batter into buttered 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Set baking dish in slightly larger pan at least 2 inches deep and pour hot water into larger pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 45 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched in center. Remove from oven and let cool. Don't refrigerate. Serve with softly whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

302 calories; 190 mg sodium; 131 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 45 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0.03 gram fiber.

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