Wednesday, July 21, 2010

summer risotto

I just realized that despite risotto being one of my more-commonly made dishes after basic pasta and stir-fry, I've never posted more than just a quick pic of those delicious meals. So here goes!

More love for my CSA in this post, as all the vegetables I used came from Victory Farms. Tuesday was a break from the hot, hot days we've been having and when I arrived home from the North of the James Market, I decided to make risotto. It was even a little rainy/stormy out so a comfort meal was called for. I had picked up squash, chinese eggplant, basil and zucchini. I sliced them all up and started the rice. My recipe below is imprecise, but it's the sort of thing you should just make up as you go. You can use more or less veggies depending on how hearty you want to make the dish.

[Chinese eggplant. Cut into disks.]

[Chinese eggplant, zucchini, squash]

2.5 cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine
2-3 cups chicken broth*
1-3 cups water*
3 cups veggies
.5 cup basil
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
Parmesan cheese (optional)

* The rough ratio is 2 cups liquid to 1 cup rice, so just have enough on hand. I start off measuring it in 1 cup at a time then just pour in more as needed. Keep the ratio in your head as you start off and soon you'll just do it by sight.

In a big pot, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add carrots and rice. After 1 minute, add cup of white wine. As that liquid is absorbed add broth than water one cup or less at a time. Stir frequently. After 2-3 cups of liquid has been absorbed, add the rest of the veggies. Stir frequently. Once rice is cooked (it will be slightly sticking to each other and will have expanded greatly) stir in the basil. Remove from heat, sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese if desired.

[End product. Leftovers]

The inspiration I had for this risotto was one I had recently at Azizia's (post on their pizza to come soon!) It was an appetizer and was listed as "risotto with fresh herbs." It had no vegetables at all and a strong taste of licorice- perhaps from fennel and anise. I liked it though it tasted completely different from any risotto I had made or tried elsewhere. My friend did not care for it at all, due to her dislike of licorice flavor. I wanted a more subtle herb flavor and a heartier dish and created this. I loved it when I first ate it, despite none of the vegetables being my favorites. I've heard risotto doesn't reheat well but this one was the first time I really agreed with that assessment. So enjoy this dish but don't double it for later!

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