Anyone who has ever seen Hell’s Kitchen probably got this post’s headline right away. On Hell’s Kitchen, beloved TV chef Gordon Ramsey gathers a dozen or so aspiring chefs and proceeds to demean, belittle, and yell at them, which is good for about an hour’s worth of entertainment. The show goes on for a couple of weeks, until only two people are tough enough to be left standing. They battle it out head to head and the winner gets to be the new head chef and whatever restaurant Gord-o happens to be opening.
The thing that always strikes me about this show is how trashy the contestants seem compared to other cooking shows. Take Top Chef for example, most of those contestants are down-right classy. They know how to cook with fancy ingredients, and they are well spoken. Another show with good contestants is The Next Food Network Star, where everyone is  intelligent, even if their cooking skills are a little suspect. Hell’s Kitchen’s casting department, on the other hand, seems to be scraping the bottom of the barrel. Season 5 was an especially great cast, starring a 600 pound man, some girl from Detroit, and a guy with a whitesnake haircut and a backwards hat. But I digress.
My favorite thing about shows like Hell’s Kitchen is that I always know when certain things are going to happen. At some point into every dinner service, Gordon will start shouting about his risotto. There is something undeniably sexy about a good-looking, sweaty British man yelling about gourmet food. It gets me going. I’m not sure what it is about risotto that challenges Gordon’s rag-tag bunch of culinary hopefuls. The risotto is always too sticky or too al-dente or cold. Since my first exposure to risotto was through Hell’s Kitchen, I naturally assumed that it must be rocket science. I thought there was some secret window, maybe only 5 seconds, that yielded a perfect risotto and that everything else would produce rubbish.
Well I was wrong.
Risotto is super easy to cook, as long as you’re willing to ladle in broth while stirring the rice. That’s all there is to it. Make sure to serve it hot, and see if you can get whoever you happen to be dining with to do their best Gordon Ramsey impression as you bring it out to the table.
Add broth- stir rice- repeat.
Did I mention that it’s delicious?

Artichoke and Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 c.  arborio rice
  • 2-3 c. vegetable stock
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 c. mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 artichoke hearts, coarsley chopped
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. white pepper

Lightly coat a nonstick saucepan with olive oil. Add the rice and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the rice begins to toast.
Add half a cup of the broth, stirring constantly until it is absorbed. Continue to add the broth, half a cup at a time, until the rice is tender.
After the first broth addition, saute mushrooms for about 3 minutes, then add artichoke, lemon juice, and spices. Add a few tablespoons of broth to prevent sticking and let it simmer while you finish the risotto.