Directions included.

March 24, 2010

I made risotto tonight. I also tweeted about making risotto tonight. About how much of a better idea it is before I’m chained to the hob, adding stock and stirring. Adding stock and stirring.

It gets kind of old.

But it turned out to be pretty good! Makes the stirring worth it. Almost.

I only decided to make risotto because I’m trying to empty out my pantry a bit. I don’t have much space in this apartment kitchen, and life is just easier when I’m not trying to maneuver between half-empty bags of grains and ne’r-before touched bags of sundried tomatoes.

I’ve never used completely dry sundried tomatoes. I’m used to the kind packed in oil. But when I sent my husband to the store several weeks back to get me sundried tomatoes, he wasn’t quite sure which kind I meant, so he got me the kind packed in oil, which I used immediately, and the kind hanging out in air inside a bag, which I stared at night after night and wondered if I’d ever use.

So I asked three (3) people in my life and did a google search, just to see what one does with sundried tomatoes like that. The answer was easy enough. Rehydrate, drain, and use.

Armed with this new knowledge and the accompanying confidence, I marched to the kitchen, pulled out the bag of tomatoes, and saw, written in several languages, directions for using these tomatoes. And for ONCE, they even included English! I am quite used to multilingual directions only including Dutch and French. Sometimes German. Sometimes a Slavic language. Or maybe it’s Danish. Rarely do they include English.

But there it was tonight! The bag told me to rehydrate the tomatoes in 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar for two hours. Drain, add olive oil and oregano, and use!

So I followed those directions. And did the following to showcase those tomatoes:

Kale and Courgette Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes

Your favorite butter substitute – I just use soya butter
Onion, garlic, celery, green bell pepper – diced
Red chili pepper – diced
2 c risotto rice (I use arborio, but I think there’s another kind that works, too)
7-8 c vegetable broth
Courgette, cut into half moon slices
Rehydrated sundried tomatoes
Salt & pepper
Italiany herbs – I used oregano and basil (I started to add thyme, but realized I wasn’t really digging the addition, so then I tried to cover it by adding more oregano and basil)
Nutritional yeast

Now, most risotto recipes call for white wine, and I do wish I had had some. But I didn’t. And I don’t really enjoy drinking white wine. So I just didn’t feel like doing the research to find vegan wine (as easy as barnivore makes it for us, the selection at the nearby g-store isn’t that awesome, so while I’ve done the research for red wines, I just don’t have it in me for white wines), so…you may want to add white wine. And once I’m back in the States, with a selection I’m more familiar with, I plan to do the same. You’d add it first, before you start adding the stock.

Also, the only reason I’m using the word courgette instead of zucchini is because I like the way the K sound flows between kale and courgette and the T sound flows between courgette and risotto. Consonance, my friends, wins every time.

Back to the recipe!

1. Heat the stock in one pot. In another, heat the butter and add the onions, etc. I add the red chili peppers a little later than everything else because I don’t like the way that red peppers can color the onions and garlic and turn them into this unappetizing pink color. Adding them a little later prevents that.
2. Once the onions are clear, add rice. Fry it till it turns translucent.
3. If you’re using wine, you’d add it here. Otherwise, we’ll just jump straight into adding the stock. Add stock slowly, ladleful by ladleful, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding more.

ACTUALLY. Let’s pause here. I shouldn’t be the one to teach anyone the intricacies of making risotto. I’m not a good enough cook for that. So look elsewhere for tips on that. All I should really say is: cook the risotto. With your herbs. And some salt and pepper.

4. When you’re about halfway through cooking the risotto, take another pan, heat some oil, and saute your courgette. This part isn’t totally necessary because you’ll be adding the courgette to the risotto, so you could let it cook there. But either way, add your sauteed or not sauteed courgette, kale, and sundried tomatoes to the risotto. So that they can start to absorb the flavors for the last half of cooking.

5. Once the risotto is cooked, take off heat, stir nutritional yeast, and allow it to hang out, covered, for a few minutes. Serve onto plates, topping with a little more nutritional yeast.

Like so!

Oh, yeah. I just saw a piece of tofu in that picture. I forgot that I had some extra tofu from the vegan mac and cheese I made the other night, so I fried it really quickly and added it at the end there. Didn’t make the dish, didn’t break the dish, just helped me clean out my fridge.

Gosh, the theme of so many of my dinners seems to be, “Cleaning out the fridge and/or pantry.” Seems kind of uninspired, but at the same time, if it ain’t broke and all that.

And really, who am I trying to impress here?


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