Kitchen Adventures: Indulgent Italian

I am not a big fan of Italian food because I’m not crazy about tomato sauce, so risotto stands out as a shining beacon of pasta goodness.  I often order this at restaurants (heck, last Restaurant Week I had two courses of risotto at Locke Ober) but have never made it myself.

Until now!

I spent my Sunday night whipping up an inaugural batch of risotto in my new bright red cast iron pot, and the result was spot on.  It really tried my patience since I generally turn up the heat and get my food cooked asap, but taking my time to stir and simmer was more fun than I expected.

This recipe, which I got in my email a few months ago served as the basis of my risotto, but then I changed absolutely everything since I a) already had asparagus a few days ago and b) I don’t eat shrimp.  Also, c) I love any and every excuse to eat goat cheese.

This dish is great with a simple salmon on the side.  Before you start making the pasta, marinade salmon (1/4 lb per person) with lemon juice and dill.  About 13-15 mins before the risostto is done, pop in the oven at 375 degrees and cook until flaky.

Rich and Creamy Risotto with Squash

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (can be made from bullion cubes and water)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion (Vidalia or other) chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice [look for this on sale – it can be quite expensive in the grocery store but I got 5 cups worth for $2.99 at Ocean State Job Lot!]
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 1 cup Portobello mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp goat cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped dill [you  bought it, might as well use it!]
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash of black pepper

Let’s get cookin’!

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high.  Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in rice and sauté until the rice is almost translucent.
  2. In a separate pan, cook the squash and zucchini in a pan with a bit of water until steamed, then allow water to boil off and set aside.  (If you want, add in some lemon juice – it adds some great zing.)
  3. Add broth mixture about 3/4 of a cup at a time, stir and allow almost all the liquid to be absorbed before adding in another portion.  It will take about 30 minutes.  [This is the part that tests my patience – do your best to wait it out and allow the broth to really be absorbed.  I jumped the gun a bit here and had to keep the lid on for about 10 minutes to give the rice some time to catch up on cooking.]
  4. Add zucchini, squash, and goat cheese to the rice mixture.  Stir and allow goat cheese to melt and mix, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add remaining ingredients (lemon juice, dill, s/p), stir well, and remove from heat.
  6. Serve with salmon and enjoy!

Let this sit for a minute between serving and eating – after 40 minutes on the stove, this thing is HOT.  I burnt my mouth on the first bite, but the fact that it was still amazing is a testament to how great this combo is.  I can’t wait to eat the leftovers for dinner tonight!

I plan to use this recipe as a base  for other risotto varieties in the future – the vegetables and cheese options are basically interchangeable with other choices.  What would you mix into yours?

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3 thoughts on “Kitchen Adventures: Indulgent Italian

  1. Pingback: Rethinking risotto « Sally and the City

  2. Pingback: Rethinking Risotto (part 2) « Sally and the City

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