Gordon Ramsay forever recontextualized the word “risotto” when, in one of the first episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, he threw a plate of creamy rice at a newb, screaming “This is horrible fucking risotto!” Never had the two words met in my mind until then. The side dish/entree (depending on who you’re talking to) achieved pop status among my group of friends, ever after deemed “fucking risotto.” The thing is that I don’t like it.

I’ve attempted many times to make fucking risotto because it’s a delicious idea. However, it isn’t an easy process. You have to do the soffritto (celery, carrots, onions), saute the Arborio rice. Then slowly add stock, which needs to be kept at simmer, a cup at a time. Stir stir stir until absorbed. Add more stock. Stir stir stir. More stock – stir. Drink the rest of the cooking wine. Then, finally, you add the goodies. I’ve tried everything from mushrooms to kabocha squash to just cheese and peas. Every time I made it, fucking risotto fell flat for me and my audience. For example, two Japanese friends discreetly said it was “omoshiroi.” Thanks to a year of language classes at Case Western, I knew they thought it was diplomatically “interesting.” Furthermore, fucking risotto isn’t cheap to make. Arborio rice? Good luck finding it. When you do, prepare for sticker shock. I chalk this all up to the cucina povera trend in the U.S. All that delicious Italian food we eat in restaurants for at least $13 an entree is mostly peasant fare with the Southern Italian dishes being the most expensive. Fucking risotto is a Northern dish, but it’s still comfort food. It’s supposed to be easy, quick and CHEAP. Not so in our blessed United States where it’s elevated to haute cuisine status. So I gave up making fucking risotto because it had the consistency of vomit and destroyed half my grocery budget.

My father, on the other hand, loves fucking risotto. If it’s offered on a menu, he will order it, unless zuppa de pesca, another dish with humble origins, is available. To help him with that conundrum, I order the zuppa de pesca and share. This way, I’ve been able to taste fucking risotto as it is “supposed” to be prepared. It still feels like that last heave of a purge where the rice you forgot you ate 3 months ago comes up. No sir. No fucking risotto for me. Then I moved in with Jeff.

Jeff is an attentive, wonderful, doting partner. (Feel free to start puking. Maybe we could collect it and sell it as risotto?) He likes to cook and especially likes cooking for me. When we were courting long distance, he mentioned that fucking risotto was one of his signature dishes. I commended his culinary skills, but did mention that I detest fucking risotto. When describing why I don’t like it, Jeff cocked his head and asked “Where the hell have you been eating risotto?” He told me his recipe, which sounded nothing like any risotto I’ve ever made or tasted. He swore that the recipe was verbatim from the chef at the now extinct Lulu’s in Columbus. He also swore risotto is a side dish. I remained skeptical, as I’m wont to do. Time passed, I moved in and he finally made good on his threat.

Fucking risotto is fucking awesome.

Ingredients:

Two bags of boil in the bag rice
cream or half and half
water
parmesan cheese
1 lb other mild white cheese: cheddar, chihuahua, gouda, whatever

*Boil according to directions with 3/4 cream to 1/4 water ratio.
*Grate cheese
*Drain rice, release into a pot
*Add: cheese (parmesean and the other one) and other delicious things.
*Mix until you can stand a spoon up in it. If it dries out before this, add a little cream.
*Serve as a side to a meat dish, despite your partner’s protestations that they’re going to gain weight eating like this.

Notes:

The two manifestations of Jeff’s fucking risotto thus far have been: peas and bacon with mozzarella and broccoli and another with Truffle Tremor and quesodilla cheese. I can’t remember the veg in that one.

Impress your loved ones tonight – you may just get some booty.

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