Perhaps the most well-known fact about Lorelai and Rory Gilmore is that these gals are world class eaters. Throughout the series, whenever they weren't eating massive amounts of takeout and downing cups of coffee, the Gilmore girls can be found enjoying the culinary creations of their go-to chef and friend, Sookie St. James (played by Melissa McCarthy). Sure, there was Luke (Scott Patterson), the local diner owner (and Lorelai's once fiancé) who could be counted on for burgers, fries and the like, but Sookie was the real gourmet chef in town. She was always whipping up almost inappropriately fancy cuisine—remember the mac and cheese with jalapeno-chipotle cream sauce...for the 8-year-old birthday party? Oy! And as for Sookie's most fabled dish? Her magic risotto, of course!
If you're a real Gilmore Girls fan, then you already know how iconic this concoction is. Sookie proclaimed that she'd served it to her dying mother, causing her to live three more years, and a local food critic calling her precious dish "fine" nearly sent the girl into a conniption. Needless to say, any Gilmore Girls-inspired cookbook would be incomplete with a magic risotto recipe. Thankfully, there's a killer risotto recipe in the new title, Eat Like a Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls ($15, amazon.com). While it's not the easiest Gilmore inspired dish, it's totally worth it! Just be patient and channel your inner Sookie—a bandana might really help to get you in the right head space.
Read on for the full recipe!
Sookie St. James's Magic Risotto
1 cup Finely shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup Chopped, fresh basil
2 cups Low-sodium packaged chicken broth
30-40 Saffron strands
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 teaspoons Butter
1 Shallot, peeled & minced
1/2 cup Dry white wine (chardonnay recommended)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
How to Make It
Prep cheese and basil: These will be needed in a hurry once the risotto is cooked.
Heat broth and rinse rice: In a large saucepan, heat the broth over medium heat. Once the broth is warm/hot, add the saffron strands and stir. Let the broth continue to warm on the stove for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the rice into a bowl. Fill the bowl with water, then swish the rice around until the water turns milky white. Rinse the rice in a strainer. Pour the rice back into the bowl and repeat these steps four times, or until the water no longer turns white. Rinse the rice a final time, very well. Set aside.
Sauté the shallot: On a burner (near the burner with the broth), in a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the shallot. Sauté for 2–3 minutes, until the shallot turns translucent but before it begins to brown around the edges. Add the white wine. Stir.
Cook the rice: Add the rice to the white wine mixture. Stir it in, and continue stirring until the liquids have been absorbed. Stir 1 cup of the broth (about 2 ladles-full) and a generous pinch of salt into the rice. Continue stirring until liquids have been absorbed. Continue adding the broth, 1 cup at a time, and the salt, one pinch at a time, stirring the rice until the liquids are absorbed. Once 5 cups of broth have been added, taste the rice before adding more broth/salt. The rice should be soft to bite into, and the center should be very slightly firm (not hard). If the rice appears “done” after 5 cups of broth, there is no need to add more; if the rice is not quite “done,” add a little more broth as needed. Once the rice is “done,” proceed to the next step.
Make the Risotto: Stir the Parmesan and basil into the rice. Spoon the mixture into bowls. Top with additional cheese, if desired.
If you give yourself some time to leisurely stir the broth into the rice until its starches are released, you’ll be rewarded with a creamy, rich, authentic Italian primo (first course).
Eat Like a Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls
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