Garlic Risotto with Calamari and Parmesan Crisps
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS
- SERVINGS: 4
Angel Palacios recommends garnishing the risotto with sliced almonds for a textural contrast: "I prefer Marcona almonds from Spain, because they're fresher and softer."
- 2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 1/2 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (10 ounces)
- 4 ounces daikon, peeled and cut into 3-by- 1/4-inch matchsticks
- 1 pound cleaned baby calamari, bodies cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add all but 1 small garlic clove to the water and blanch for 1 minute; drain. In a small saucepan, simmer the blanched garlic cloves in the olive oil over moderately low heat until the oil is fragrant, 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the garlic cloves and oil separately.
- Return the garlic to the saucepan. Add the cream and simmer over moderately low heat for 10 minutes. Transfer the garlic and cream to a blender and let cool slightly, then puree until smooth. With the machine on, pour in 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and blend until slightly thickened and frothy. Season the garlic cream with salt and white pepper. Transfer the garlic cream to a bowl; rinse out the blender.
- Add the small uncooked garlic clove to the blender along with the grapeseed oil, lime juice and parsley and blend until smooth. Transfer the parsley vinaigrette to a small bowl and season with salt and white pepper.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan to the skillet in a 4-inch round and cook until golden and bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a thin spatula, transfer the Parmesan crisp to a wire rack to cool. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining Parmesan to make 3 more crisps.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain well and return the barely cooked rice to the saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of the garlic cream and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Add the remaining garlic cream, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until the rice is al dente and a creamy sauce has formed, about 10 minutes total. If the rice seems very thick, stir in up to 1/2 cup of very hot water. Season the risotto with salt and white pepper and keep warm.
- In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil. Add the daikon and cook over high heat until golden and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Return the skillet to high heat for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of garlic oil and heat until nearly smoking. Add the calamari and cook over high heat until tender and browned in spots, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Mound the risotto in the center of 4 plates and top with the daikon and squid. Drizzle the parsley vinaigrette over the risotto, garnish with the Parmesan crisp and serve.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.