The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.


I’ve always been intimidated by risotto. This is because the idea of constantly “fussing over” my food while it’s cooking does not really appeal to me. This challenge proved that the whole idea of the fussing involved with risotto is a bit overblown, however. Yes, you do need to hang around the stove to add the stock and stir periodically. But the whole process doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes. No big deal.

Since Spring is just around the corner here in New York and I’m getting excited about the upcoming gardening season, I’ve been trying to eat up all the veggies I froze from my garden last year. So I defrosted my last container of these slow roasted organic tomatoes for my risotto, and it was wonderful.

Part of the challenge was to make our own chicken stock. I make stock all the time, so I was all set in that department. If you’ve got stock, Arborio rice, a little wine and just a few other ingredients, a delicious risotto can be yours, too.


Note that if you don’t have any homemade roasted tomatoes on hand (and let’s face it, there is a very good chance you don’t), just make the plain risotto base and then you can flavor it as you like. Mushrooms are classic, so are artichokes and peas, but other vegetables can certainly be used, too. I think it would be great with some cooked greens and/or roasted red peppers. Or you can keep it simple but decadent and just use your favorite fresh herbs, a little less stock, a little more cheese and finish it with a little organic cream…it’s very versatile!

Many recipes tell you to add the stock in 1/2 cup increments and to keep the stock hot during the entire process. I did neither of these, but my risotto worked out just fine.

One thing I realized while doing this challenge is that I do not own one single Italian cookbook (it would have been nice to have one for risotto reference). Not one! I already asked for recommendations on Facebook, but I’d love to hear about your favorites, too. I’d like to get at least 1-2 Italian cookbooks in the very near future. So whose do you like? Lidia’s? Marcella’s? Giada’s? Rose Gray’s? Another one? I’d love to hear what book(s) you think I should add to my collection!

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  1. 1

    Sasa — March 14, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

    The Silver Spoon is a great one – it’s like the Larousse Gastronomique of Italian cooking. It’s pretty fat though, not one for lying in bed and reading – more like at a table ;P

  2. 2

    Lauren — March 14, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

    That is gorgeous Winnie! Roasted tomato must be a flawless flavour for risotto =D.

  3. 3

    Shirley @ gfe — March 14, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

    I have never made risotto, but you Daring Baers make me think I could. Beautiful, Winnie. ;-)


  4. 4

    Audax Artifex — March 15, 2010 @ 6:08 am

    Your photos which are so classy and elegant really show off the risotto so well. Superbly done on this challenge. Gorgeous colour and the flavour was delicious I bet. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  5. 5

    Alta — March 16, 2010 @ 9:18 am

    OOoh, roasted tomatoes in risotto. What a lovely combination. I love your first photo – it looks like you’re near an evening sky, with the slightly warm light just dancing on that cheese. Yum!