Culinary Boot Camp: Risotto


Earlier this week, I told you about my experience with local cooking classes over the past year. I love them so much that I’m going to continue to take them whenever I can. And I plan to post my impressions here on Season It Already!

My most recent Class:

Culinary Boot Camp: Risotto

at Local D’Lish in Minneapolis

While my friend Jared and I may have met because we are fellow Wineaux, we have become foodie friends as well. {Although, I’m not sure that I like the term “foodie”. I’ve learned that I’m not quite as adventurous as I’d like to think I am.} Still, food and wine go hand-in-hand; so it’s only natural.

In fact, last summer, Jared and I snagged Groupons for a food tour of Northeast Minneapolis. Jared, Rob and I booked this intriguing tour for one particular weekend. However, we later learned that my friend Katie {another fellow Wineaux!} was going to be in town from Ohio with her husband for a wedding. We wanted to meet up, but with limited time constraints on their part and this tour already booked, we ran into some difficulty. So, Katie and her husband decided to join us! The tour was fantastic and a great way to explore the city for both out-of-towners and locals alike. We stopped at five different eateries in Northeast Minneapolis and learned the history and sampled the food of each. I would highly recommend Twin Cities Food Tours. The tour starting point was at Local D’Lish – a small urban market focused on local, organic ingredients and giving back to the community.

So when a Groupon opportunity came up to take a cooking class at D’Lish, Jared and I jumped on it. Unfortunately, with both of our busy schedules, it was difficult to find one that we both could attend and were interested in – there were so many options! I think we bought the Groupon in February, but the class we scheduled wasn’t until May. While risotto isn’t the lowest calorie option for me to learn how to make while trying to lose weight, Rob and I have recently come to love it!

You see, I used to think risotto was just rice. I didn’t understand that it was a different style of rice (arborio) and what intensive labor it takes to make it. And I think I hadn’t had the right stuff. I can’t pinpoint when we first discovered its greatness, but when made properly, we can appreciate it to its fullest.

However, this class involved so much more than learning how to cook risotto!

Instructor Kate Moore started out by making us an appetizer while teaching us some basic cooking skills in preparation for our risotto. She made the whole class fun and engaging!

Jared assisting Kate in class

We learned how to make our own stock. I found it interesting how she added the hot stock to the risotto, something you can’t do with stock-in-a-box, unless you heat up the boxed stock first before adding it to the dish. But how many people actually do that? Kate also taught us flavor profiles and how to change things up so that we could use the bean dip base (our appetizer) or risotto to create our own add-ins.

She kept talking about how we really need to make sure everything is really well-seasoned. {I knew I liked her for some reason!} She warned us that the salt she added may seem like a lot, but that we need to add more salt than we may be used to when we work from scratch. Pre-packaged and processed foods are already laden with {often too much} salt. Cooking from scratch allows you to control the sodium, and even if you feel you like you are adding a lot, it’s still far less than what you’ll find in most packaged/processed foods.

“Taste frequently, season fearlessly!” she said.

Another phrase she repeated throughout the class: “Food is sexy – because you have to activate and engage all the senses.” I like that.

However, one of the most surprising parts of this class for me was that I had the best salad dressing I’ve ever had in my life! While, Kate did give us some basic recipes, she also included how we could leave room for creativity. She encouraged us to play with the ratios and “build those muscles” – cooking muscles, that is. “The path to success is paved with mistakes well-handled,” she said. So true! I’ve felt like a failure in the kitchen more than a handful of times and often feel like giving up. Kate gives you the confidence to be your own boss in the kitchen. I felt empowered.

I have since tried to make the dressing we had in class, and while it wasn’t as perfect as I remembered hers to be, it still was such a great alternative to bottled dressings or the simple vinaigrette.

Since I highly recommend that you visit Kate’s website and seek out a class or book her for a private event, I don’t think she’ll mind if I post her recipe for this dressing I can’t get over:


Emulsified Herb Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 to 1 cup loosely packed fresh herbs (50% parsley and scallions, 50% directional herb)
    • direction herb = the herb you want as the dominant flavor. Kate used basil in class.
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar or champagne vinegar (I only had balsamic on hand, which I think is what gave my dressing a different flavor)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Put everything except the oil into your food processor or blender. Blend to combine/purée guts. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. “Feel free to play with the ratios to build those muscles!”


I thoroughly enjoyed Kate’s class at D’Lish. I loved her personality and style and learned a ton. Kate trained and worked at the popular Lucia’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Minneapolis. She currently teaches cooking classes through various venues and also does private events at very reasonable rates. They are great for bridal showers, birthday parties, couple’s parties and other social events. She’ll come to you!

Have you ever made risotto? If so, what was your experience?

Where have you had the best risotto?



5 responses »

  1. Yum – sounds like such a fun and fantastic class! I must note, however, that YOU should not feel like a failure in the kitchen, not ever. Everything you’ve ever made that I’ve ever tasted has been FANTASTIC! I am clueless as can be, but you know your stuff! I like risotto, but I agree with everything you’ve said – I think I underestimate how great it can be, cause I haven’t had the truly great stuff!

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