While the Italian cuisine will always have a special place in my heart, I have to say that I am particularly fond of the Mexican one as well. I mean–burrito, taco, enchiladas. What’s not to like? One of the best meals of my life was at a Mexican restaurant, stuffing myself with fajitas.
Something that comes to my mind when I think about Mexico in particular is HOT–and I mean, really really hot. And I am not talking about hot as in oh-my-God-what’s-up-with-this-weather (although that too), but about chili peppers. You’ve probably seen videos of people testing their limits and see just how much hot chili they can endure. In my case, I didn’t force my luck, but I discovered that not only do I tolerate jalapeños, but that I actually enjoy their flavor. Although I am eating them as I am supposed to, they don’t even have to be hot, as there are sweet hybrids retaining the flavor and look of jalapeños, for those who have low tolerance for spicy food. Jalapenos are a terrific source of vitamins, specifically C, E, B6 and K.
But what happens if we mix Mexico and Italy together on a plate? Jalapeño risotto happens–and trust us, you will not regret cooking it.
- 1/4 pound dry jack cheese grated
- 6 cups lightly salted chicken broth
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
- 6 medium jalapenos stems, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1 tbsp calabrian chili paste For the perfect kick! (optional)
- In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer.
- In a large heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
- Stir in the onions, jalapenos and garlic and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5 minutes.
- Add the rice, stir to coat well with butter, and cook 2 minutes.
- Stir in 1 cup of the hot broth. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice absorbs almost all the broth, about 5 minutes. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time and stirring often between additions, until the rice has absorbed most of the broth and is tender and creamy, about 30 minutes total.
- Stir 1/3 cup of the grated cheese into the risotto, cover, and let stand 1 minute.
- Divide the risotto evenly between 6 plates and serve immediately, passing the remaining cheese and a peppermill at the table.