Risotto is an Italian rice dish, but I’m an American of proud Polish background. What I create will no doubt cause a true Italian, and probably a Pole from the Old Country, to cringe, but oh well.
If I stuck to the ethnic food of the land of my birth, we’d be eating Big Macs.
“Resztki” means leftovers in Polish, and no, I have no more idea of how to pronounce this than I do the last names of most of my cousins, but if you click on this link and hit the Listen icon on the bottom right, you can announce tonight’s dinner to your family with confidence and Polish aplomb.
Maybe you’re out of turkey stock; I’m not. What really made this leftovers for me was the short-grain Arborio rice, which is readily available in larger groceries. My own supply of the stuff was down to one cup, and for a reason I refuse to try to comprehend, some member of the family needed the plastic container in which the rice reposed. So they poured what was left into a bowl and stuck it on the counter, where it stared at me, challenging me to do something with it.
So I did, and so you can do. This dish is creamy, dreamy, flavorful, and smooth. Like most of my recipes, it’s customizable to what is in your cupboard and refrigerator, so don’t pass this up if you truly are out of turkey stock.
Oh, and by the way, Risotto isn’t fast food — mine took 45 minutes, with much attention to stirring. Use this as a time to think, reflect, meditate, or pray; the process of stirring lends itself to these activities.
Recipe: Risotto Resztki — serves two hungry people, three mildly so; feel free to double the recipe
1/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 head garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup Arborio Rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 handful fresh herbs, minced, or 2 teaspoons dried (I used a combination of sage and rosemary, still alive in the kitchen garden)
4 cups turkey or chicken broth, hot (if you don’t have broth on hand, use bouillon)
1/2 cup grated cheese (tradition dictates Parmesan or Romano, but I used homemade goat cheddar. Use what you have. Skip it if you don’t eat cheese.)
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in 4-6 quart pan. Add the onion and garlic; saute gently for 10 minutes (this is a good time to wash the dishes, if they have piled up during the day). Add the celery and carrots, and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring now and then.
Stir in the rice and coat with the oil mixture. I stirred for three minutes or so, just to expose the rice to the hot oil and give it an idea of what was ahead.
Setting the timer for 30 minutes, add the hot turkey broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring until it is largely absorbed before adding another 1/2 cup. If you do this at a quiet, gentle pace, you’ll need the half hour. Toward the end, the rice gets much larger and softer, and the broth wraps itself around the grains like a cream. Don’t panic or freak out — what you’re mainly looking for is the rice to be done — chewy yet not mushy — and it’s really hard to go wrong. You may not need all four cups — I did, because my rice was a bit . . . old. Stop when you feel that the texture of the rice is where you want it, and add as much broth as you want for the texture of the final dish.
In the last five minutes, add the minced herbs. Just before taking the dish off of the heat, mix in the cheese. Stir for 30 seconds to a minute, take the pan off the stove, and cover. Let sit five minutes, then serve in bowls (if it’s soupy) or in deep plates (if it’s firmer, as mine was).
As the Polish say, Smacznego.
Cooking for yourself is one of the first and easiest way to becoming more independent — both in thought and deed — and it is vital in this country that we wake up and take control of our lives. If you haven’t noticed, there are people and entities out there who would be delighted to tell us what to do and how to live, and they are well on their way to doing so.
Tuesdays, I write about recipes using good, simple ingredients. Please join me.
If you are interested in spiritual matters, I invite you to join me, as well, at my site Commonsense Christianity at BeliefNet, where my primary message to Christians is to wake up, maintain a strong relationship with God, think for themselves, and speak out against what is wrong. I feel fairly strongly about this, and if you agree with me and like what you read, please pass me on. As an ordinary person, I am not privy to the financial and media advantages enjoyed by others.
If you are interested in saving money, I invite you to look at my book Live Happily on Less, a series of friendly essays that will guide you into a different way of thinking that will help you survive economically tough times. (Paperback and digital at Amazon; also available for borrowing through Amazon Prime.)