Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I haven’t been doing much cooking lately, because A’s out of town for the Fourth of July. I’d envisioned spending my free time during this solitary week in the kitchen, whipping up elaborate delicacies too ambitious or impractical or non-A-friendly to make on an ordinary day. But then temperatures soared into the 90s, and our kitchen faucet clogged again (postscript: it’s fixed now, maybe for good—KNOCK ON WOOD), and suddenly the last thing I wanted to do was spend time in the kitchen. Last night I sweated through the making of a batch of Pasta Ascuitta that I figure will pretty much last me all week, supplemented with some easy sandwiches, salads, and snacks. And pizza, of course. ’Tis the glory of the bachelor life.

Lucky for you, I still have a backlog of recipes to post, so here’s a risotto recipe I’ve had for ages. I think it might be from, of all places, the pedestrian red-and-white-checkered Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Whatevs, it’s full of cheese and vegetables and totally tasty. Even A, the purported risotto-hater, agrees.

2 cups sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
3–4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
¾ cup bite-sized asparagus or broccoli pieces
¾ cup seeded and diced tomato
¼ cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded Fontina or Muenster cheese (4 ounces)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or parsley

1. In a saucepan, bring broth to boiling; reduce heat and simmer.

2. While broth is heating, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms, onion, and garlic until onion is tender. Add uncooked rice and cook, stirring, over medium heat about 5 minutes or until rice is golden.

3. Slowly add 1 cup of broth to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until liquid is absorbed. Add another ½ cup broth and the asparagus or broccoli, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add another 1 cup broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed. (This should take about 15 minutes.)

4. Stir in the remaining ½ cup broth, the tomato, and the carrot. Cook and stir until rice is slightly creamy and just tender (add more broth or water and let it be absorbed, if necessary). Stir in cheese and basil or parsley.

Serves: 4
Time: 45 minutes

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