Then, one particularly freezing and dreary night, while the two little girls are sleeping, the next door neighbor's Indian butler, who has been charmed by little Sarah, replaces the squalor of their attic with a lush bedroom, filled with soft bed-dressing and clothes, a sumptuous buffet, and beautiful paintings. The girls wake up the next morning to think that they have conjured the whole thing through the power of imagination.
I think you can pull a similar trick with risotto. Through pure mind power (read: stirring a lot) you can transform plain old rice and broth into a warming gourmet meal. With the help of an friendly butler (read: mushrooms, squash, or other veggies) you can take it over the top to something truly magical. It really works for me when I am feeling like an orphan scullery maid, which is often these days. (Don't worry, its just finals period.)
So here is my recipe, which I've shared before (many times before), but made as plain and wallet-friendly as possible. I've been eating it so much lately I feel like a risotto making machine, but if its your first time, be vigilant- you don't want to ruin the bottom of your pan by not stirring enough.
Risotto w/ [your favorite and/or cheapest vegetable]
1 large yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
olive oil and/or earth balance
*1 c. white wine
1 cube veg boillon, or packaged veggie broth
Your vegetable of choice, plus an herb of choice
1. [First you will probably want to prepare the vegetable. If its mushrooms, slice and cook together with some thyme or oregano and olive oil in a saute pan until brown and slightly crispy. If using squash of pumpkin, slice in 1/2 and place in a pan in the oven along with some olive oil and sage and cook at 375 until soft. Asparagus can be sauteed or cooked in the oven with some oil and garlic. You get the picture.]
2. Fill a pot with water and boil along with a bouillon cube. Reduce heat to medium. (Alternatively, heat a package of veggie broth over low heat on the stove top.) Keep within reach of your other pot.
3. Melt 1 knob of Earth balance and a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When bubbling add in garlic and onion and cook until translucent.
3. Add in rice and allow to coat with oil and mix with onions and garlic. Salt and Pepper liberally.
4. Add in white wine. (*If you can't afford wine like me, substitute two tablespoons of plain vinegar or white wine vinegar.) Stir until just absorbed.
5. Ladle in about a cup of the heated broth, stirring until absorbed by the rice. Repeat this step over and over again, ladling and stirring, until rice is no longer crunchy and coated in a thick creamy sauce.
6. At this point, add back in your cooked veggie, salt and pepper liberally, stir, reduce heat to low and cover. Serve with warm bread and a crispy salad.
Suggestions for combos:
Butternut squash and sage
Lemon and Asparagus (add in a bit of lemon juice and zest when you add in the cooked asparagus.)
Mushroom and Leek with thyme, my personal favorite.
I suspect one can stretch this recipe into new territories, like using beets, fake cheese, or non-italian flavorings. However, even minus the veggies this is pretty awesome comfort food, and the only thing you really have to buy is the rice. Ah, cheap, classic, kitchen magic. "Because every
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