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Garlic Risotto with Calamari and Parmesan Crisps
© Anna Williams

Garlic Risotto with Calamari and Parmesan Crisps

  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS
  • SERVINGS: 4
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

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."

  1. 2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled
  2. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  4. Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  5. 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  8. 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 1/2 ounces)
  9. 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (10 ounces)
  10. 4 ounces daikon, peeled and cut into 3-by- 1/4-inch matchsticks
  11. 1 pound cleaned baby calamari, bodies cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Make Ahead The garlic cream can be refrigerated overnight; rewarm before proceeding with the recipe. The Parmesan crisps can be kept in an airtight container overnight; recrisp before serving.