Homesteader’s Risotto

Delicious Italian risotto is an elegant dish to serve for dinner or simple and cozy enough to eat on the couch curled up in a blanket.  It is easy to make as well.  I am giving you the shortcut version, but not the too short cut version.  The too short cut version is essentially making rice with a little wine and broth all at once.  The time involved (30 minutes) is to create a flavorful, authentic, and satisfying dish.  Instead of Arborio (which I can never find anyway) or other long cooking rice, we will use  a quicker cooking Basmati rice.  Any rice that cooks in around 20 minutes will work.

Risotto is a great homesteading food because it uses staples like rice, homemade broth, spices as well as long lasting cheeses like parmesan, and leftover vegetables and proteins.  It is a cost savvy food and makes use of what we have.  It is easily adjusted for the amount of folks coming over and is filling and delicious with just a salad on the side.

IMG_1482

Homesteader’s Risotto

1 cup of rice (to serve two or three)

2 Tb of butter

1/2 cup of Sauvignon Blanc

4 cups of broth (homemade preferable)

A good sprinkling of parmesan

Sauté the rice in butter stirring often until rice is just starting to brown and is fragrant.

Add the wine and stir almost constantly over medium high heat until liquid has mostly evaporated.

Add 1/2 cup of broth at a time and stir until almost absorbed then add another 1/2 cup of broth. (You may or may not use all the broth depending on quickly the rice cooks.)

IMG_1480

The idea is to slowly cook the liquid into the rice over moderate heat to create a thick, creamy result.

I used my own onion broth that I put up from the onions that were left at the end of the season in the garden that were too small.  I did not add very much salt to the broth so that I would be able to spice things as I go.  If you are using a store bought broth, it will be quite salty so adjust your seasonings appropriately.

After a few cups of broth, start to add seasonings.  I like a little Italian seasoning, and a bit of red pepper.  Maybe some smoked salt and black pepper.  Add a little, wait for a few minutes, then taste it to adjust.

IMG_1478

When the rice is cooked through, add the cheese and any vegetables or protein. In another pan I sauté shrimp in a blend of olive oil, parsley and garlic and serve along side.  Enjoy a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc with it.  Perfect pairing!

Variations:

Use Chardonnay as the wine and mushrooms sautéed in near the end.

Use Pinot Grigio as the wine and sautéed greens like kale or spinach or asparagus.

Use Cabernet Sauvignon as the wine (and a wonderful purple color) with leftover steak.

Use a flavored olive oil instead of butter.

The sky’s the limit!  Buon Appetito!

What the Pantry Holds

We know what the root cellar held, and the importance of canning, what the freezer held, and we’ve been dehydrating .  And indeed, this year’s root cellar is going to be even more complete than last season’s, the freezer is nearly full, and dehydrating is in the works.  All great means of preparing for winter, but we haven’t discussed perhaps the most important; staples!

IMG_0770

Putting up food is not just a “prepper” ideal for potential zombie attacks, nor is it folly or old fashioned.  It is smart.  One good snow storm or emergency could leave you home bound. One lost job or identity theft could keep you from spending money.  Having a house stocked with food is important and takes away a lot of worry and fear.

In a pinch, you could blend together baking powder, oil, flour, salt, and water to make fluffy biscuits for breakfast or guests.  Use jam from the root cellar and you have a fabulous treat.  You can make bread from just salt, yeast, flour, and water.  You can make a lot of delicious meals more filling with cooked farro, or barley, or couscous, or rice.  Dried beans are at the ready to simmer all day to enjoy on a cold winter’s night with some warm bread.

IMG_0769

Organic bulk grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and flours are fairly inexpensive (two bucks a bag for beans) and can make several meals complete.  I store mine in canning jars so that I can see what I have.  Otherwise they become mountains of staples in the pie safe that I forget I had.  One positive thing about closing my retail front was reclaiming one of my display pieces.  It is a sixty plus year old hardware shelving unit with several cubbies.  I love the look of it, the numbered spaces, and the vintage appeal it lends to my kitchen.  It is becoming a wine rack/staples case.  Filled with canning jars of nuts, beans, and different grains and flours, and of course, wine, it will lend an easy air to cooking in my kitchen this winter.

Look for split peas, lentils, pinto beans, white navy beans, rice, barley, couscous, cornmeal, walnuts, pine nuts, any thing you enjoy, and fill the canning jars with them.  Display.  They look great out and make cooking dinner more inspiring.