Roasted Garlic and Thyme Risotto
A fine quality risotto takes your taste buds by surprise because it's just not what we expect from rice. This gradual method of cooking rice brings out the starch and the subtle, nutty flavor of the rice. Combine it with some interesting ingredients, and it can easily take over as a main course. A well-prepared risotto will be soupy in consistency, and each grain of rice should be chewy. For a real treat, drizzle some white truffle oil over individual servings.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roast the garlic bulbs until soft, usually for about 30 minutes.
Heat the chicken stock.
In a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, then add the onions, the two cloves of minced garlic, and the celery. Fry slowly for about six or seven minutes, or until the veggies have softened. Add the rice and turn up the heat.
Stir the rice constantly. It will start to turn translucent. As this happens, add the wine and continue to stir. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add a ladle full of hot chicken stock and a pinch of sea salt.
Separate the roasted garlic cloves and squeeze the soft insides into the risotto. Add the thyme and black pepper to the risotto. Turn the heat down to medium or medium-high. As the first ladle of chicken stock is absorbed, add another. Continue doing this while stirring constantly. Remember that the rice should be soupy, and should have a chewy, but not crunchy texture.
When all of the stock has been used, remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir gently. Place a lid over the pan and allow it to sit for about two minutes.
In a frying pan toast the almonds, the bread crumbs, and a little olive oil until crisp and golden. Season with salt.
Sprinkle on top of the finished risotto and serve immediately.
Serve the truffle oil at the table.