The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop, which I received as a Christmas gift this recent holiday season, inspired this recipe. I’m not one for following recipes, but this book is an easy guide and once you make it a single time it will stick with you and become part of your culinary repertoire.

Risotto can be readily found in Italian restaurants and is deelish! If you have never had risotto I suggest you order it in the restaurant first, and then when you make it at home you will be surprisingly shocked how much your version will taste like a restaurants version. Risotto is a rice dish and is prevalent in Northern Italy regions where most people eat it as a main dish, but I have found it even better as a side dish. This meal is relatively quick and definitely is a showstopper if you decide to entertain with it. Little will your friends know, that you didn’t have to use the money you were saving up to buy the iPad to purchase the ingredients. This is a Spring/Summer risotto, but I find it works all year long!

Here’s what you need: Serves 2 (Double measurements to serve 4)

  • 3 cups of Vegetable Stock (I use organic brands)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium, minced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 plum tomatoes (these are in season all year round). Once peeled, cored, seeded and dice it will equal approx. ¾ of a pound of tomato.
  • ¾ of a cup of Arborio rice (other rice will get too mushy).
  • ½ cup dry white wine (optional).
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh parsley, minced
  • 10 large fresh basil leaves (chiffonade; meaning into small ribbons. Roll the basil leaves into what looks like a small cigar and cut into 1/8 of an inch section. It will “ribbon” when spreading into the dish).
  • Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese (the real tuff is worth it).
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

What you do:

  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep it warm over low heat. This is the liquid added throughout the entire process.
  2. Heat the olive oil and ½ of the butter in a heavy bottomed (approx 3 inches deep) medium sauté pan. Heat should be on medium as well. Add the onion until they are translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until it is light brown, about a minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste until the mixture is softened, about 4 minutes.
  5. Using a wooden spoon add in the rice and stir until the rice is coated, and cook for about a minute.
  6. Add the wine and simmer until the alcohol aroma fades.
  7. Continue adding the liquid portion of the recipe. Add ½ cup of the hot stock and stir to combine. Continue this frequently. Heat should be on medium low. Continue adding the entire stock ½ cup at a time until the rice is creamy and soft but al dente (see other recipe for definition). The rice should be done after 25 minutes. If you run out of stock just add hot water.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remainder of the butter, cheese, parsley and basil. You can leave out the parsley, but I think it adds a touch of freshness to the dish.
  9. Serve in a pasta bowl and add a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as garnish.
  10. Enjoy with a nice glass of wine. This goes well with a nice piece of white fish such as Dover or Cod. I will be steaming broccoli with lemon as well and dig in!

Mangia, Mangia!

~Apologize for the quality of the photos, but that is what happens when your cell phone is stolen and you have to be resourceful, even if that means less megapixel!

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