2008_bento_rice.jpgIt seems like every other weekend, Brooklyn is home to some kind of homestyle cooking competition, with a constant rotation of cupcake-offs, chili massacres, a big jerk-off, and probably some vegan tofu spread-a-thons somewhere. Prizes at these things are typically anything from homely trophies to a few cans of PBR, but the just-announced, upcoming inaugural Risotto Challenge is something special indeed: The prizes are going to be very nice. More on that below.

On April 2nd at 8 PM, competitors toting mind-blowing Arborio and/or creamed Carnaroli magic will gather at Loki Lounge at Park Slope to face off. The event, which is being co-chaired by Cathy Erway of Not Eating Out in New York and the folks behind new Williamsburg pool table site Billiardsburg, is free to attend and compete in. This of course means there has never been a better time to share your barbecued brisket, cheddar, and beer foam garnished risotto, or maybe some Incredible "Risotto" Hulk: rice finished with spinach puree and early greenmarket asparagus, served in a purple spandex-clad crockpot.

Speaking of crockpots, the Risotto Challenge’s rules note what will likely be the biggest obstacle for competitors: Rice dishes must arrive on site ready to eat and fully cooked! Since that whole quasi-mystical al dente thing applies to rice, and risotto is most often cooked a la minute, real strategic hurdles lie in wait for all competitors. The fabulous prizes are brought to you by Urban Rustic Market, Stinky Bklyn, Thirst Wine Merchants, McClure’s Pickles, and The Brooklyn Kitchen. Visit Not Eating Out in New York or Billiardsburg for full details, and start shaving that shaving that cheese, toasting that rice.

Photo: Miffy Bento from Los Dragonnes' Flickr photostream. It's not risotto, that's for sure, but it's a bunny. Made of rice.