Rice is nice

Risotto Rice (Carnaroli)

For Meatless Monday, that is.  Or just about any other time.  I didn’t always know the specifics about risotto, let alone the difference between the rice types (thanks Appetite: A Hunger for Italy by Elena Bertozzi!)  Arborio (a good risotto rice) seems easy enough to find in most grocery stories, but I had to search a bit to find Carnaroli (the best risotto rice).

I tried a few different risotti and haven’t found a bad one yet.  Another favorite is a butternut squash risotto that was quite flavorful.  Last year, when we tried a portobello mushroom growing kit (with prolific results!) we needed to find recipes to use up all those portobellos.  The source recipe was ok, but it seemed as though the measurements were off. (Perhaps a bit too little rice and too much cheese?  It seemed to throw the consistency off.)  Regardless, I was bound to try again with some modifications of my own, and ended up with a much more flavorful result. I made this in a wok- perhaps not the most Italian method.  I also didn’t add any extra salt, since the stock is a main source of saltiness.  I also cut a bit of the fat by taking out the heavy cream and used skim instead of whole milk.  Don’t worry!  I left the butter!


2 tablespoons EVOO

2 tablespoons butter

1 large white onion

1 clove garlic, crushed

16 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped (I used small portobellos)

1 cup white wine

1 cup skim milk

2 cups Arborio (or Carnaroli, if you can find it) rice

6 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup grated fresh Parmesan

rosemary, thyme, pepper, salt, and parsley to taste

Warm the pan and add olive oil.  Cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the garlic is slightly browned.  Add the butter.  Once it is melted, turn the heat down a bit, and add the mushrooms.  Add the white wine, rosemary, thyme, pepper, salt, and parsley.  Cook until the mushrooms soften, and add the milk and the rice.  Add the first cup of stock and stir until it is nearly absorbed completely.  Repeat until all six cups of stock have been used.  (The stirring each cup of stock into the rice is partly what adds to the creaminess of the dish- versus adding all the stock at once and cooking it down.)  When the rice is done, add the Parmesan and serve.


Happy Thanksgiving (belated)!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, even those not in the U.S.!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve made a veritable smorgasbord of updates! (new categories, new links, and extra posts!)

Thanksgiving Dinner

What to do with all that Thanksgiving goodness: using up those leftovers


I tried a new recipe this year- Cranberry Couscous (cold).  It turned out very tasty and would make an excellent vegetarian substitute for stuffing (if so desired- though we had both). I doubled the recipe and that caused no problems.  I made the couscous according to the package directions (water/couscous ratio, which I believe was 3/4 c water to couscous).  I also substituted pure cranberry juice for the water, to imbue more cranberry flavor.  This was a direction in the alternate, hot recipe listed below.  A suggestion on the original recipe called for vegetable stock instead of water.  Another suggested making the recipe a day in advance, which I did, to allow the flavors to balance.  The balance was good for the day after, but the balsamic vinegar dominated a little another day later.  Perhaps a little more cranberry juice sprinkled over would help re-balance the flavors? I chopped the vegetables very fine and used baby carrots.

1 cup water
3/4 cup uncooked couscous
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Cool for 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl, combine the couscous, cranberries, carrots, cucumber and green onions. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over couscous mixture; mix well. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, stir in almonds.

Original Recipe Link: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cranberry-Couscous-Salad/Detail.aspx

Hot Cranberry Couscous: http://www.cranberries.org/cranberries/recipes_couscous2008.html


Image Source: Photo showing some of the aspects of a traditional US
Thanksgiving day dinner:  November 2002 by Ben Franske.