Roasted Vegetable Risotto (with a story)
Jen was my roommate in college for both our sophomore and our senior years. Actually, (and this is probably one of the reasons we still keep in touch), we never had to share a room. Our sophomore year, we had the very best dorm room at Vassar. It was called the Rockefeller suite, and legend had it that it was built for the Rockefeller girls. I'm not sure if that's true, but the room ROCKED. There were two bedrooms, a full bath (seriously!) and built-in bookcases. We were living the life.
Senior year, we shared a townhouse with three other roommates, and did a ton of cooking. Towards the end of the year, we decided to invite one of our professors over for dinner with his wife. I can no longer recall what inspired us to do this, but I remember working so hard on a risotto dish. I'll need to pull out that recipe sometime, but it wasn't a true risotto (I'll explain what that is in a minute). It was basically rice, veggies and LOTS of cheese. It was really good, though. So good, in fact, that a couple of months ago, Jen emailed me asking for the recipe and for tips on how to make risotto!
As is often the case with me, I don't use a recipe. But, trust me, this is easy. I made this last night with Max literally hanging from my back pocket. (I don't recommend that, by the way. TOTALLY annoying.)
Risotto alla Danielle
Onion, chopped finely
White wine or dry vermouth
Stuff (roasted vegetables, cooked chicken, sauteed mushrooms, whatever you want)
Pull out two pots (one bigger one, one smaller one). In the small one, heat up some stock (chicken or vegetable), and keep at a low simmer (I used almost an entire 32 oz. box). Heat the large one over medium heat, and add some olive oil. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Put in the rice. For a family of four, a cup of raw rice is sufficient. Saute the rice for a minute or two. Add a splash or two of the wine (I used dry vermouth since I didn't have a bottle of white open), and cook until it evaporates. Then, using a ladle, add a 1/2 cup or so of stock and stir it into the rice. Continue stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid. Once it's absorbed, add some more. You want to continue doing this until the rice is cooked. Arborio rice will still be kind of al dente when it's done. It will have a nice chew to it. When the rice is NEARLY done, you can add your "stuff." I added some roasted cauliflower and asparagus (roasted with olive oil at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes). You can add sauteed mushrooms, or cooked chicken, or whatever, really. A good idea is to Google "risotto" and find some ideas. The above formula will work for whatever risotto you make.
When the risotto is done, top with grated Parm and serve!