Valentine’s Day is coming, and with it the pressure to nab reservations at what will surely be an over-crowded restaurant. But rather than treat the holiday as yet another source of stress and hassle in your life, why not make it an opportunity to reconnect with your partner at home?
We believe that cooking is one of the best ways to relax and enjoy time with one another. And when you’re looking for a meal that is both romantic and luxurious, you can’t go wrong with the smooth and delicious luxury that is risotto.
So, what makes this dish a go-to recipe for a truly romantic night? Here are four reasons.
Two chefs make it best.
Risotto may seem like a difficult dish to create, but it isn’t actually time consuming. A good risotto can be completed in 30 minutes. It just requires a steady hand and an eye for detail.
According to Plated Head Chef Elana Karp, “The process takes a lot of attention, but isn’t too labor-intensive. Just keep slowly adding warm chicken stock and stirring the rice until it’s cooked through and creamy.”
The attentive, deliberate method of making risotto can set the tone for the evening, as the two of you take the time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Double-check that you have all your ingredients ready before you start. Then, work together to keep an eye on the particulars: “Sweat” your diced onion until it’s translucent but not yet brown; try not to add more than a ladle of warm broth at a time; notice how quickly the rice is absorbing the liquid; wait until the liquid is completely absorbed before ladling again; and keep this process up until the rice is “al dente,” or slightly firm and chewy.
It’s both a luxury and comfort food.
As luxurious as the experience of eating risotto feels, there’s no denying that it’s actually comfort food at its best—which is why it’s so great for fostering a cozy atmosphere. “Comfort food makes for a perfect date night meal,” says Chef Elana. “Plus, even though risotto is relatively decadent, it’s not too heavy, so you’ll enjoy every last bite.” In other words, risotto gives you the best of both worlds, both sumptuous enough to elevate your at-home date night and welcoming enough to let you relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
It’s an opportunity to use special ingredients.
One of the beautiful things about risotto is that you can involve several veggies, spices, and aromatic ingredients you might hardly use. Dice and lightly fry an onion before infusing its flavor into your Arborio rice. Throw in some thyme, chives, Brussel sprouts, and mushrooms. You can even add wine. (More on that later.)
Want to make your meal a bit more savory? Sausage and truffle oil combine wonderfully. And as for cheeses, you pretty much can’t go wrong. Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago, even Cheddar—take your pic. With risotto, you two get the opportunity to blend your favorite tastes into one tender dish.
Your evening and your risotto should resemble each other in a (read: very) important way: They should both involve (read: lots of) wine. Any good risotto can be enhanced by adding ½ cup of white wine to the recipe. Then pour two proper glasses and cheers to your culinary masterpiece as it bubbles on the stove.
Ready to make risotto the heart (pun intended) of your Valentine’s Day menu? Have Plated’s chef-designed recipe and fresh ingredients for Carrot Risotto with Fontina, Lemon, and Thyme sent directly to your door.