Risotto in South Bend

So tonight was my last evening in the Midwest (probably).  Yesterday we spent the day over on campus at Notre Dame, which was every bit as beautiful as all the pictures and movies make it out to be.  Admittedly I was pretty creeped out by some of the over the top Catholic facilities, but can appreciate their existence, at least from an aesthetic point of view.  

As you can see, the weather here has been pretty dreary, although I’m sure it won’t be much better when I get back to Pennsylvania.  I didn’t take any pictures in downtown South Bend, but I’ll be honest – in many ways this city is very much like Allentown.  After Studebaker peaced out in the 1960s, the city experienced both a decline in population and an economic decline.  The city still has plenty of natural beauty and the architecture is really fantastic, even in the run down historic district – but the crime rate here is pretty high, even higher than in Allentown.  I’m sure all the Allentown haters find that hard to believe.

That said, they are a few years ahead of Allentown in their redevelopment process, and the downtown shows a few signs of life, I’d be interested to come back in a decade and see if they’ve managed to move forward.

Tonight we came back to Claudia’s place and got to work on a risotto.  We worked off of my pumpkin risotto recipe, but used Butternut Squash instead. 

I don’t know what it is about Risotto that makes it such a comforting food, but even on a cold and windy night like tonight, this was hearty and filling and just right.

We had company for dinner, so we had to work together to get this going quickly, but with four hands instead of two, the work was quick.  

Claudia took one for the team and chopped the onions – talk about knife skills (okay really this was just my poor camera skills I wasn’t paying attention to my shutterspeed, but, the knife skills were there too).




We wasted no time and started sweating the onions, we chose to throw caution to the wind and sweat them out in some Amish butter instead of olive oil, here is Claudia taking in the scintillating aroma of onions cooking in hand churned butter


Unfortunately, her hard work on the cutting board meant I was responsible for the risotto…  now my arm is pretty tired.  I love making this, and as I noted in my comments on that previous post, I don’t continuously stir risotto when I’m making it, but I tend to cook it pretty slowly so that the starch all has time to come out of the rice and work its magic.  Slow cooking means lots of stirring, even though I take a short break every few minutes.  


Probably the best thing about cooking risotto is that the aroma is very mellow but also very nice, and because you are forced to stand over the pot stirring for 25 minutes, you have plenty of time to work up an appetite.  I love the glossy sheen of the rice right before you add in all the stock, it just starts to get that toasted nutty smell going on with the onions and the butter and its all the motivation I need to keep stirring.



After all was said and done, we finally sat down for dinner, enjoying our dinners while being regaled with tales of college football-team pranks (totally gross and not dinner table appropriate but still hysterical, I guess I’m still an 8 year old somewhere inside) by Claudia’s classmate and friend Michael.  

The verdict?  Definitely a score.

6 Responses to “Risotto in South Bend”

  1. 1 Katie Bee November 25, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    what kind of camera do you use? the photos you take are fantastic.

  2. 2 capri November 26, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Thanks! I shoot film with a Nikon N80, and I shoot digital (most of what appears on this blog) with a Nikon D100. If you’d like to see more of my photography, I keep it all on my flickr site. If you have a flickr you should add me so we can be contacts, I love to look at photos!


  3. 3 Susan November 26, 2008 at 8:56 am

    So ironic to read this post today. After reading about your pumpkin risotto the other day, I mentioned that night the idea of butternut squash risotto for dinner. (I bought a jar of the puree from Williams & Sonoma and can’t decide what to do with it.) The idea was not well-received in my house, so I didn’t make it. But as soon as I feel up to the stirring I think I’ll try it–maybe just a small batch for one. Unless it reheats well?

  4. 4 capri November 26, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Susan, although I rarely have leftover risotto in my house, I find that it reheats pretty well – it does have a tendency to turn a bit mushy, but personally I don’t mind that so much.

  5. 5 Claudia November 27, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Love the picture pun at the end!

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