April 30, 2014
Recipe: Lazy Risotto
So, lazy is the best word for this recipe, but that doesn't mean it's quick. Or for everyone. It is only for people with long days at home. There is an economy here, but it is not an economy for everyone. In fact, I'll bet, in my limited readership, there is only one person who will really benefit from this recipe, and that's only because I talked with her about it yesterday and we got interrupted by one of the three three-year-olds in the house at the time.
Anyway, this recipe...nay, this technique is for when you have a full day at home and only want to pay attention halfway to whatever you're cooking.
1) HOMEMADE VEGETABLE STOCK.
For that you need to obsessively save vegetable scraps. I do this, sticking vegetable odds and ends and roots and slightly gone greens into a big plastic container in my freezer. (Or a ziploc bag.) This is the perfect base for a rich and hearty vegetable stock. I take all those veggies (today, asparagus ends, fennel stems and leaves, scallions, wild garlic ends that had dried out, onion skins, several cloves of garlic, and some bok choy) and rinse them quickly cool water to shake off any freezer ice. If you don't save veggie ends, I bet you have some veggies in your fridge that are about to go, and of course you have onions and garlic in your pantry, or a bag of frozen peas. Any greens, any onions, any vegetables so long as it is not starch will do.
So, take all your veg, and stick them in your biggest stock pot and cover with water. Throw in a couple bay leaves and set it simmering.
And then leave it, for an hour at least, completely unattended.
(So long as it's only simmering, you don't need to watch it.) When I get my second cup of coffee, I'll maybe give it a stir, and, if the water looks low, I'll pour in a bit more cold water. Sometimes I'll add salt, or peppercorns. Sometimes not.
After 90 minutes to two hours, when the water is reduced by 1/3 or 1/2, and it's starting to look dark and rich I'll drain the stock into a separate pot, (discard the veggies) and taste it. If it needs more salt, add it now. If it seems a little lackluster, I'll chop up an onion finely and add it in there.
2) Now THE RISOTTO: The typical ratio of rice to broth in risotto is 1:3. Plus you have to keep ladling it in and stirring it, and ladling it, and stirring it, and keeping the broth hot on the stove, and using all the pots in the house, and being super attentive, and sometimes it's a pleasure, but today, this is too much work. I am being lazy!
So take your practically-free vegetable broth and double that ratio. Put in 1 cup of rice to your 5 or 6 cups of broth. (If you don't have six cups, add some water and some white wine.) Stir it round. Add in some saffron and a knob of butter, and set it simmering. And leave it, mostly unattended, for 40 minutes, or till the rice has absorbed all the broth. (Give it a stir every now and then, ok.)
Add some freshly grated dry cheese (pecorino, parmesan), and another knob of butter, and some freshly chopped parsley, and serve.
Alternately, you could do this "oven risotto" from Martha Stewart, which is pretty fool-proof, and probably coincides better with your definition of lazy.