Monday, February 14, 2011

MacGyver Risotto

I'm calling this MacGyver risotto because it started out as one of those "I haven't been shopping in almost two weeks and am down to some wilting asparagus, a cup and a half of rice, and a handful of other stuff" meals. 

Fortunately, the rice was Arborio, and a quick Google led me to a recipe for asparagus risotto that looked like just the thing; all I had to do was eliminate the parmesan cheese, and sub margarine for the butter. I also added some extra seasonings, and threw in a handful of frozen peas towards the end to make things more interesting. 

I think the key to this dish's success is to cook and puree some of the vegetables at the beginning, then add them to the risotto in the last few minutes; this had the effect of suffusing the whole with the essence of asparagusness. (Next time, I'm planning to try it with roasted red peppers. You could also stir in a little fresh lemon juice if you like; I didn't happen to have any on hand.) 

Anyway, once the eight remaining carrots were roasted, and the half head of leftover kale sauteed with some garlic, we wound up with an excellent dinner. And I didn't have to use a single paper clip!

MacGyver Risotto
~ 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1/2" pieces
~ 3/4 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk (or broth)
~ 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 tbsp. Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1.5 cups arborio rice
~ 1/2 tsp. salt
~ 1 tsp. basil
~ 1/2 tsp. tarragon
~ A few good grinds of black pepper
~ 3/4 cup white wine
~ 4-6 cups vegetable broth (I'm currently all about the Better Than Bouillon "No Chicken" flavor)
~ 4 large scallions, chopped
~ 1/2 cup frozen green peas

~ Steam half the asparagus pieces until quite soft, at least 5 minutes. Rinse quickly under cold water, then place the cooked asparagus in a food processor, add the soy milk and nutritional yeast, and puree until smooth. Set aside.
~ Put the broth in a medium saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. 
~ In a large, deep, nonstick skillet over medium heat, combine the oil and 1 tablespoon of the margarine. Add the garlic and cook about one minute.
~ Add the rice, basil, tarragon, and black pepper; cook, stirring, until glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. 
~ Add the white wine, stir, and let the liquid bubble away; now add the salt.
~ Begin adding the warmed stock, 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring continually. Each time the stock has just about evaporated, add another 1/2 cup.(NB someone should be bringing you glasses of wine/refreshing your cocktail during this part of the process.)
~ After about 15 minutes, add the remaining asparagus pieces and the scallions,  continuing to add stock as necessary. 
~ In about 5 minutes, taste the rice; it should be tender, but still have a bit of texture or "bite." (It could take as long as 30 minutes total to reach this stage.)
~ Stir in the frozen peas and the asparagus/soy milk/nooch puree, and cook another minute or so.
~ Remove from heat, and stir in the remaining 1 tbsp. margarine. Stir briskly, taste for seasoning, and serve immediately.

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