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May 10, 2011 / laughinglivingloving

Identity Crisis Risotto

One thing I am focusing on doing more often this spring is cooking with what I have.  I’m a pretty good bargain shopper (and experimenting with couponing to get even better!), and I stock up on basics when I find them on sale.  As such, I generally have a pretty good stash of things like pasta, rice, canned chickpeas, tomatoes, white beans, frozen veggies, etc.  I read food blogs like it’s my job, and I come across so many delicious sounding recipes that I add to my “must try” pile.  Sometimes I luck out and have all the ingredients on hand, sometimes I’ll run out to the store and pick up an item or two, and sometimes I try to adapt the recipe to what I have in my cupboard.  That’s what happened last night.  The Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Risotto Primavera yesterday, and it got me to thinking.  Risotto sounded soooooo good, but I didn’t have everything she called for – but I knew I had arborio rice, chicken stock, and various veggies, so I was good to go.

I got some beautiful baby portabello mushrooms in yesterday’s CSA delivery, so those got chopped up and sauteed with a little olive oil and butter.  I found a bag of Trader Joe’s mixed frozen veggies in the freezer – green beans, sweet corn, peas and carrots – we’re in business!  After I had cooked up my veggies and mushrooms and removed them to a plate, I added a couple tablespoons of butter and olive oil to my pan, let the butter melt, then added my rice – a generous cup – to the pan and tossed it with the butter and oil for a minute or so.  Then I added chicken stock (and a little beer) about a cup at a time to the rice and let it cook til all the liquid was absorbed before adding the next cup.  I ended up using a little less than two cans of chicken stock and probably 3/4 cup beer.  Taste test it as you go – you want the risotto to be smooth and creamy, but not mushy.  When the last bit of liquid was almost absorbed, I added in about 3 oz of cream cheese and the veggies and mushrooms and stirred til the cheese was melted.

Risotto is great because it’s so adaptable.  When I was waiting tables, my favorite dish on the  menu was a roasted duck breast with sweet pea risotto.  You can customize it with whatever you have on hand, and it’s a great vegetarian main dish, or side dish for some protein.  Viva le risotto!

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