Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pan-Seared Steak, Roasted Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto

Dinner!

Charleston was a fun but too-quick trip! There was lots of sleeping, lots of Internet surfing, lots of, um, alcohol (shhhh), and lots of food! Natalie likes to cook, too, and I found a lot of my recipes printed out on her desk. (Hi Nat! She's probably reading right now.) After our trip to Savannah fell through we decided to cook Friday night and maybe try a few things we had never tried. (There was a dinner party to celebrate Natalie's engagement on Saturday night - more on that to come!) We decided on risotto (we had actually never eaten or cooked it), pan-seared steak (easy match with the risotto) and roasted asparagus. We ended up eating white asparagus because all the fresh green was sold out, but I think I may never eat the green kind again! We all loved the softer flavor, less-stringy and gentle crunch of the white.

It was a good thing there were two of us to cook (though Natalie spent quite a bit of time playing bartender - to good effect!) because I'm not sure how anyone makes risotto plus anything to go with it! At least the steak and asparagus were quick. This was a great meal, and we all left the table satisfied. And that's a good thing because Guitar Hero and giggles were up next (and a few of those warm chocolate puddings, a perfect end to a perfect night).

Parmesan Risotto
By Confabulation in the Kitchen

2 T butter
1 C arborio rice
4 C chicken broth (at least)
1 small zucchini, cooked in chicken broth
Fresh parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Melt butter in large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Add rice and toast until very lightly browned. Ladel in chicken broth, continually stirring, until all is used. (Don't stop stirring!) Rice will become creamy and taste somewhat al dente when finished. (20 minutes or so? I think it all depends on the heat your burners put off. Just taste as you go.) When ready to plate, stir in zucchini and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Pan-Seared Steak
By Confabulation in the Kitchen

Choose steak cut of your choice. Melt 1 T butter in pan. Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Sear one side (I did two minutes), flip and sear second side (two more minutes.) How long you cook it depends on how rare you prefer it. Slice and serve over risotto.

Roasted Asparagus
Confabulation in the Kitchen

Preheat oven to 350*. Take asparagus spears, cleaned and trimmed, in an amount to serve you and your guests. Brush it with olive oil and lay on cookie sheet. Roast 2 to 5 minutes on one side, flip and roast 2 to 5 more minutes. (I like a bit longer - brown is good flavor!) Pull out of oven and immediately sprinkle with fresh parmesan. Natalie threw on a bit of garlic powder, which was a great idea, so I'd say roasting the asparagus with some fresly chopped garlic would be a fantastic idea, too.