Here it is, the first French Friday recipe of the New Year – and also the first French Friday recipe I’ve done in quite a while, the first since Hannah was born. I was very much looking forward to getting back into the kitchen, particularly for the sake of French Fridays.

So, I’m a little disappointed that this is the recipe that started out 2014.

Here’s the deal. “Risotto” is not a particular dish, it’s a particular cooking method. It involves rice being cooked in a broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. Recently, it seems that “risotto” has come to mean any grain cooked in a broth: I’ve seen barley risottos, for instance. In this dish, it’s pasta. Hence, the risotto in quotation marks. You could just as easily call this French Stovetop Mac & Cheese, because that’s what it is. The pasta is boiled in chicken broth until most of the broth is absorbed, then a bit of cream is added, followed by cheese and mascarpone. And there you have it: macaroni and cheese.

Ingredients for the "risotto:" cheese, macaroni, cream, and sour cream (a sub for the mascarpone). The broth was already on the stove.

Ingredients for the “risotto:” cheese, macaroni, cream, and sour cream (a sub for the mascarpone). The broth was already on the stove.

dressypastaris

We had this for dinner on New Year’s Day, served alongside Dorie’s Roast Chicken for Lazy People, which has become one of the most commonly made recipes in this house. My parents and Geordie’s mother were our guests. We also roasted up some Brussels sprouts because we had some.

The chicken got rave reviews (as it always does, because it is awesome). The Brussels sprouts were terrific. Nobody said anything about the pasta, and I had to outright ask Geordie what he thought. Not impressed. I was relieved, because I had taken one bite and thought, I’ve had better. 

I honestly don’t think there’s much to talk about here. It’s pasta and cheese. Unfortunately, I didn’t think it was very good pasta with cheese. I love macaroni and cheese, and I will take any excuse to make it, but I doubt I’ll be doing this admittedly easy recipe again. I guess this is just one of those cases where easy doesn’t equal better. I’d much rather go to the trouble of making a mac and cheese with a roux base if I know it’s going to turn into a deliciously cheesy, melty dish. This was certainly melty and creamy, but it wasn’t very flavorful. It wasn’t very cheesy. It had the look of mac and cheese, but it didn’t have that cheesy essence that I so love.

All in all, this was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe my expectations were too high. Or maybe I’m too critical! The other Doristas seem to have really enjoyed this dish (check out their links to their reactions!), so maybe this is something that just didn’t work for me. Either way, I’m looking forward to the rest of January’s recipes, so better luck next week. Happy cooking!

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