Risotto with Crispy Duck and White Balsamic Vinegar {Birdman}

Hey everyone! I’m excited to present you with the NEW direction of my blog — dinner and a movie! I used to do these posts every once and awhile, but I’m finding now that I’m not actively studying film any more I truly miss it: Writing about it, talking about it, and sharing it. From this point forth, each delicious recipe will be paired with a movie recommendation. And yes, some of these pairings will make you sigh (the puns are corny, but some I just couldn’t resist), but each recipe was paired with a movie for a reason! So don’t worry! The delicious recipes aren’t going far — they are just going to the movies!

The first installment will be in honor of the upcoming Academy Awards. I’m going to share a little bit about each Best Picture Nominee, and of course, their foodie accompaniment.


Birdman is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor named Riggan (played by Michael Keaton) – who was famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. The audience follows Keaton in the days leading up to opening night, watching him battle his ego and attempt to pull off the performance of his career while still maintaining the love and respect of his daughter, colleagues, and himself.I loved how modern and relevant this film felt, packed with references to the exploding superhero franchise in today’s Hollywood and its current actors. The parallel between Keaton’s own acting history as Tim Burton’s Batman in the 1990s is also evident, and even referenced, as a journalist tells Riggan in an press conference the “last time he was relevant was when he played Birdman in 1992,” which was the last year Keaton played put on the infamous Batman suit.

The film is shot in a way to appear as if it is one continuous take. The camera moves seamlessly between characters and places, giving the audience a feeling of being engulfed in the story. And it isn’t just the camerawork that pulls you in. This film is a powerhouse of acting talent: Keaton and his supporting actors, Edward Norton and Emma Stone, all put forth the performance of their careers — as evident by all three being nominated for an Academy Award in their respective categories. Actors had to memorize up to 15 pages of dialogue and hit rigorous choreographed marks in order to make the shooting style of director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu even possible.

Needless to say, their work paid off. Birdman has been nominated for 9 Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture. One critic put it best in saying, “Many films claim to be different. Birdman actually is.”

{Risotto with Crispy Duck Breast and White Balsamic}
Serves 4

The biggest takeaway from this film for me was how much attention the cast and crew had to pay attention during the filmmaking process. This shooting style lead itself to many errors, since they shot so many long takes, requiring everyone involved to bring their “A” game to set each day.And what recipe requires constant care and attention? Risotto. I love making risotto because it forces me to focus on cooking and very little else, as you are constantly stirring and adding more liquid to the rice until it gets to that rich, creamy texture. It seemed like the perfect dish to pair with this meticulously planned film, and of course, I had to go with some type of bird (remember, I warned you about the puns).


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion 
  • 1 cup arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 1/2 cups beef broth, divided 
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 5- to 6-ounce duck breasts


  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 2 minutes. Add wine; stir until almost all liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cupful at a time, stirring often and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, until mixture is creamy, about 18 minutes longer. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup cheese, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon butter. Season risotto with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle duck breasts with salt and pepper. Add duck, skin side down, to skillet; cook until skin is brown, about 8 minutes. Turn duck over and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes longer for medium-rare. Transfer duck to work surface; pour off fat (do not clean skillet). Let duck rest while preparing sauce. Add remaining 1 cup broth to same skillet and boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Slice duck diagonally.
  • Spoon risotto into shallow bowls. Fan sliced duck atop risotto; drizzle pan sauce around duck and serve.

I encourage y’all to give this recipe a try, as well as to check Birdman out in theaters! It’s sure to be a frontrunner in this year’s Academy Awards. Enjoy, and happy eating!

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