Thursday, February 02, 2006

Easy Weeknight Meals: Resourceful Risotto

My first attempted risotto was a disaster. Figuring rice is rice is rice, I used plain white rice. The result? A crunchy yet weirdly glutinous mass, and an "I told you so" look on J's face. Now I am wise to ways of arborio rice, and risotto's a weeknight staple. I especially like any version featuring butternut squash (Milk and Honey posted a tasty-looking recipe recently), and I've also adapted Nigella Lawson's risi i bisi (a soupier pea risotto) as my own. However, my favorite risottos are usually flavored with bits of leftover produce (usually near, but not yet at, un-useableness) lurking in my crisper. This week, carrots, mushrooms and spinach made an appearance--I had just a tad of each item, worthless alone, but together a fantastic team. Forgive me, I've been reading too many management books lately, which are chock full of ridiculous teambuilding metaphors. (Though I don't think they refer to anyone alone as worthless.

Resourceful Risotto
obviously, the whole point of Resourceful Risotto is to use whatever leftover veggies you have on hand, so be creative

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced (you could sub shallots here)
2 medium carrots, finely diced
1/2 a container of button mushrooms, diced and sauteed
1/4 of a bag of baby spinach
1 c. arborio rice
1/4--1/2 c. white wine
4-5 c. chicken or veggie stock, simmering on low
freshly grated parmesan
freshly ground pepper

Melt your butter and olive oil together over medium heat in an heavy-bottomed saucepan. Toss in your onions and and carrots, and sautee until onions are soft and golden. Pour in your cup of rice and stir until all grains are coated with butter/oil. Add wine, and stir until all wine is absorbed. Slowly add 1/2 cupfuls of stock, stirring and waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding the next (I sometimes cheat here and don't stir the whole time, but you have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't stick). When rice is just barely tender (you may not need all the stock), take off the heat and stir in mushrooms and spinach until spinach wilts. Mix in parmesan and pepper to taste.

Previous Easy Weeknight Meals

Mustard-Fennel Pork Loin
Almond Crusted Salmon
Zucchini & Black Bean Quesadillas


mumu said...

Risotto is one of the things that I've always read about but never tried. Perhaps the next time I get round to an Italian restaurant. I know normal white rice won't work, yet for some reason I've been hesitant to pick arborio rice from the supermarket to cook risotto at home. I wonder if it's my attachment to jasmine rice.

Rorie said...

Oh, I believe I'm blushing! Your risotto looks fab!

Jeremy said...

This is a new one for me! Looks really yummy too..gearing up with recipes for the cold winter days
hopefully ahead!

Dazy said...

This would be my son's version of Heaven! I think I'd enjoy it, too!

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Excellent recipe I like to eat different meals from other countries it would be something wonderful to surprise my family.

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