Recently I posted on my facebook/twitter page about how if you’re getting board you can take a basic meal and change some of the ingredients around and make it more interesting. Doing this with the seasons produce is one of the best ways to make meals less boring. I remember, as a kid, when produce was more seasonal. You waited for that first plum, or those strawberries. Now most stores carry them year round. So it’s a little difficult to know what is really in season and what is not. If you’re not sure or just starting out trying to eat seasonal a great website to check out is Sustainable Table. Here you can find what’s in season and lots of other great information to get you started.
Risotto is one of my favorite things to cook. It’s easy. I promise you it is. Can you stir with a spoon? Yeah? you can do this then. Oh and if you heard you can’t stop stirring for even a second, nope, wrong. You can walk away for a bit but don’t do it to long as yo don’t want the rice to burn.
I make risotto year round and change it up a bit depending on what’s in season. Butternut squash for the cold months, and in the summer I love fresh tomatoes and seafood. Use the risotto as your canvas and paint with the great produce of the season. Have fun and get creative.
The following is a recipe I felt was great for spring. I got it from Food.com but adjusted it for what I like. It’s a little early in some places for spring peas so feel free to use frozen. The notes for how I changed this are next to the ingredients.
Shrimp and Pea Risotto
1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas
1 lb shrimp (frozen raw , peeled) *I used shrimp meat as it was on sale at Whole Foods that week*
1 lemon , juiced (optional)
3 pints canned chicken stock * I added in 1/2 cup of dry white wine at the start*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions , finely chopped
2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
1/2 head celery , finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
salt and pepper
1/2 cup butter *totally skipped this part, too much fat I felt, you could add a pat of butter instead*
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese *we had this on the side for family to add. I use nutritional yeast in place of cheese for things I eat since I have dairy issues*
In a separate fry pan heat the olive oil.
Add onion, garlic and celery and slowly fry for about 3 minutes.
Add rice to veggies Season with s& p and turn up the heat.
As the rice begins to fry, stir it.
After a minute it will look slightly translucent Add your first ladle of hot stock (this is where I added the 1/2 cup of white wine) and a 1/8 tsp.
Turn down the heat to a simmer.
Keep adding ladles of stock for 15 minutes, stirring and allowing liquid to be absorbed before adding the next.
Add stock until the rice is soft but firm Remove from the heat.
Add butter and Parmesan Stir gently. (we skipped this and served Parm on the side)
Place lid on pan and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add shrimp and peas and simmer for 1 minute.
S& P to taste Serve with a bit of olive oil drizzled over the top.(skipped this too)
Notice in this recipe they don’t tell you what to do with the lemon juice. I sliced the lemon into wedges and put them out for my family to squeeze on their own plates. It was delish.
Take a look at your menu and see what dishes you can change-up. Roasted chicken with veggies are easy, stir frys are great to change-up. Have fun and let go of needing to stick to the recipe always. Play with a recipe and make it your own!
Till next time!