Sunday, February 26, 2006


Risotto is one of those foods that I love, but rarely eat, because it's a refined grain, and it also always feels like such a HASSLE. However, I made myself a bowlful of risotto tonight that is purely decadent, with ingredients I had laying around. This one probably won't go in the cookbook, because it's NOT health food. But it's damn tasty. Here's the story:

I started by sauteeing half a small onion, chopped, and one clove of garlic, minced, in a bit of extra-virgin olive oil melted with a bit of Earth Balance margarine over medium heat. When the onion was almost soft, I added about a teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary and about 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. (Pine nuts are usually WAY out of my budget, but I had some leftover from making the stuffed grape leaves for V-Day.) I stirred this about until the pine nuts were golden and toasty. I then added 1/3 cup Arborio rice (a short-grain, starchy, refined rice sometimes sold as "Risotto Rice;" duh!) and cooked the rice for a minute or two. (Don't burn your pine nuts.) I then began adding warm vegetable broth, about 1/4 cupfull at a time, and stirring until the liquid was cooked away after each addition. (I also added the juice of one lemon with the first addition of broth.) This is the time consuming part of risotto -- you have to stand and stir, scoop in a little broth, and stir some more until the rice is "al dente." You're aiming for that delicate area between crunchy and mooshy. When the rice was almost fully cooked, I added two big handfulls of fresh spinach, and let that wilt away. (I knew the spinach would release some moisture as well, so I didn't want to add it at the very end.) Once the rice was done, I poured it into a bowl and am now enjoying it thoroughly.

The tricky part of risotto is getting it cooked to al dente, and also not making too much -- risotto gets gluey when it cools and does not reheat well. This made just enough for a one-bowl supper for me. Mmmmmm.........

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