So before last Monday, SA & I decided to try jumping on the Meatless Monday bandwagon. Being the innate Bangi that I am, who cannot imagine a meal without a protein like meat, chicken or fish (NO! LENTIL DOES NOT COUNT) I had been panicking for days about it. Also, being the nerd that I am, I also looked up the benefits of going meatless for a day and how it reduces carbon footprints and blah blah. Well, Monday rolled around and so I threw myself into going Meatless for the whole day with gusto. I had a whole bunch of veggies at lunch and some egg curry which was absolutely delicious and was feeling awfully pleased with myself. Then I found my stomach to be growling like a deranged wolf all day, so I fired off a dramatic text to SA crying to him about how hungry I was.
Thankfully, he took mercy on my poor soul and told me we don’t need to go meatless and that we had some seafood we could cook up for dinner. I breathed a sigh of relief as I texted him back saying the ideology of Meatless Monday does not agree with me anyway. So, that’s the story of our failed Meatless Monday. But we had planned a mushroom risotto on our menu which we made and ate with some delicious calamari and shrimp and fresh Greek Salad.
I don’t know why but when I was younger, I used to have this impression of risotto being some pretentious dish that people only eat on cooking shows and pretentious restaurants until I discovered that it is made with plain old rice cooked in some broth and wine. Talk about being late to the party. This dish is super easy, but does require about a good hour to make sure you have time on your hands while preparing this dish.
First chop up some onions and some mushrooms. Then cut up some asparagus in 1 inch pieces. Leave the ‘shrooms and asparagus aside for now. Combine some chicken broth and white wine in a saucepan and keep it simmering. In another saucepan, melt some butter and add in onions over medium heat. Once they are translucent, add in the rice and stir. Make sure you keep stirring because we don’t want the rice or the onions to get brown. Somehow, the smell of onions in butter just stirs something in my soul. It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Next is the most important part, and remember this because you will have to repeat the step about 5 times or at least we had to because red rice takes a while to cook. Reduce heat to low and add in enough of the broth/wine mixture just to cover the rice. Once again, you have to keep stirring otherwise things will burn. It helps if you channel King Julian and sing, “I like to move it move it.” I mean, if you don’t care about people thinking you’re crazy that is 😀
Now, wait till all the liquid has completely absorbed into the rice. Yes, all of the liquid, COMPLETELY ABSORBED, before you add in some more. I got impatient and poured some more liquid in and got told off by SA whose a right ole meanie. Do this about 5 times until the rice is cooked. Then toss in the mushrooms and asparagus (you didn’t forget about those, did you?). Now add in some grated parmesan and some lemon zest. The recipe we followed asked for some nutmeg, which we didn’t have but it didn’t matter because the unpretentious risotto turned out brilliant! Yay! I’ve realized I’ve been lazy about writing up about our salads. So watch out for that next week. And meanwhile, we will have our special guest blogger in the next post. Keep cooking! Also, please share this post, comment, give feedback – just do your thing. SA & I would love to hear from you.
Ingredients (serves 4)
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
pinch of salt and pepper (check if you need the salt, the broth is quite salty)
2 cups red rice
3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon lemon zest