There are three ingredients I can almost always count on having on hand in my kitchen, fresh carrots and celery and onions. This handy trio is the basis for many of the recipes I throw together, especially when there isn’t anything else in my veggie bin. Today was one of those days so, I started thinking about what I wanted to throw together using the “magic three”. I decided to make a peasant-style risotto, which is a favorite that I haven’t made in quite a while.
This recipe is great because it’s so basic it can be easily modified. You can add little bits of veggies you might have left over from earlier in the week. Things like a couple pieces of asparagus, a little broccoli, green peas or mushrooms would all work. You can also add just about any kind of cooked meat or sausage. Spicy sausages really taste great in this.
I had a couple of chicken thighs that needed to be cooked so I coated them with some olive oil and grilled them. I love grilling. It’s quick and doesn’t take an extra pan. I cubed the grilled thighs and set them aside.
Next I chopped one medium carrot, one stalk of celery and one small onion. I also added about 12 chopped crimini mushrooms since I had them and they needed to be used. The rule of thumb I try to to keep in mind regarding the “magic three” is that the individual amounts should about the same. You could also add some fresh chopped thyme or sage at this point. Next, measure about 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth into a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave until hot but not yet simmering. Keep warm.
Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large Dutch oven over medium heat on the stove top. Add the “magic three” ingredients any other veggies you have, and the chopped herbs if you decide to include some and saute gently until the onion is golden, about 3 minutes.
Add 1 cup Arborio rice (or I use California short grain white rice) and stir with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes or until the rice is well coated with oil.
Next, increase the heat to medium-high and add 1 cup of the hot broth, stirring constantly. When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add another 1 cup broth and continue stirring. Repeat as necessary for approximately 16 – 20 minutes, or until the rice is al dente, or firm to the bite, or softer if you’re like me and prefer it that way. Yes, this does take a lot of stirring, but if you pour yourself a nice glass of wine and put on some great tunes to sing along to the time just flies by.
When you have the rice just like you like it remove the risotto from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of butter and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and any cooked meat you might want to add. In my case this is where I added the chopped grilled chicken. Serve the Risotto immediately.
What to buy at the Farmers’ Market: