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Cook Talk

Stumped on quantities again
Debbie smith
Ellen, I am preparing a plated and served meal for 80 graduating seniors and their parents. After a salad course, I am planning chicken thighs with sundried tomato cream sauce over butternut squash risotto, roasted carrots, and brussel sprouts roasted with grapes. I'm not sure how many vegetables to buy. I want to use fresh vegetables. Thank you!
Yum yum yum.

chicken thighs with sundried tomato cream sauce, boneless? 1 pound raw per 3
butternut squash risotto, each 3 cups arborio rice makes 12 1 cup servings
roasted carrots, 1 pound raw makes 4 servings, some lost in trim and peel
Brussels sprouts roasted with grapes, 1 pound per 5-6 depends on trim, not everyone's favorite, so slightly lesser portion

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Debbie Smith
Ellen, I am happy to donate to your site! You have given me advice in the past and I have appreciated your help. Your website has so much valuable information for people like me who are not professional cooks! Thank you!

Could I ask you another question? Is it possible to pre bake risotto the day before, return it to the oven to reheat and then stir in remaining chicken stock and Parmesan cheese just prior to serving? Or should I do it all just prior to serving? Also, how much rice can I bake in a full size steam table pan?

Thanks again!

Thanks for your kind words and donation.

I looked up reheating risotto, and everyone agrees that it is not quite the same- but doable- here are the most useful notes:

" rice + wine + butter = risotto"

"the only way I've found that even remotely gets it back to creaminess is to apply liberal amounts of butter and a bit of white wine (or, uh, vodka, which is my white wine substitute for those instances when I drank all the white wine that I used to make the risotto in the first place) while stirring and gently warming in a pan on the stove. I find the alcohol loosens things up better than using stock or water, but as a general order of preference: (White Wine > Vodka > Stock > Lemon Juice > Water). Add a touch more cheese at the end, to freshen that up, as well. In fact, if you're expecting to have leftovers, I recommend stopping the first batch before you throw the cheese in at the end and refrigerating the excess at that point - needing a little more water, and not quite finished. Then bring it back up to temperature with half a cup of stock or wine, and add your cheese and finishes on your leftover day rather than the first day.

"you can reheat risotto (despite insistence that such is utterly unworthy of your time); when you chilled the rice, it continues to absorb liquid (unless you drained all liquid, which I doubt) and thus changed its texture further; adding more liquid upon warming will continue the process.
So that suggests you want to drain it before chilling-

"Reheat [Only on the stove! No microwave allowed!] until you can “part the Red Sea”* easily.
Here are a bunch of pictures:

a double boiler or bain marie for reheating rice dishes.

"While making the dish I like to set aside a good amount of the cooking liquid and a little of the rice just before it is completely done cooking in separate containers. About twice of your incremental additions for the liquid and half of what you anticipate will be left over of the rice will usually suffice, then the actual fully cooked leftovers in, again, a separate container.
Now, when reheating, do it similar to how you would cook pasta carbonara, by first heating up half of the reserved liquid (place the rest on the side piping hot incase you need extra), then adding the slightly undercooked rice, heat both through thoroughly and when hot enough to effective reheat the actual left over, add it in, remove from heat and let the hot rice/liquid and residual heat from the cooking vessel go to work while you stir gently adding reserved hot liquid if needed. This can be done in the microwave so long as you increase the amount of liquid you reserve for the process.
But keep in mind, this method may not provide the necessary heat and time at such temperature to kill bacterial growth that happens when food is left in the fridge for extended time, so for food safety I would say this should be done no more than 12 hours after the initial cooking if it was all immediately chilled, if not then do not attempt or it will be to dry from the necessary amount of cook time to be safe.

So, Debbie, I suggest you make a small batch using your proposed method, separating out some as discussed above to finish the next day, and see if you are satisfied with the result- if so let us know so we can share it!

A full steam pan holds 7 quarts. Rice almost triples in size and you will have additional add-ins, so no more than 2 quarts dry rice. Arborio rice runs about 1 pound per pint.

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