Monday, February 20, 2012

meatless monday

happy monday! i am at home enjoying another lovely long weekend, courtesy of presidents' day. the weather has been gorgeous here, and i am pleased to announce that i ran all the way down to the beach yesterday!

since i am endeavoring to get back in shape, i am putting an extra emphasis on eating healthy. i am very lucky that the boyfriend usually cooks dinner, given my long commute home. the only downside is that he loves pork products of every variety (and they are delicious!) so they typically make an appearance in our dinner menus.

to balance this out, i have instituted meatless monday. we have only had one so far, but it's a fun way to try out new recipes, or to revamp favorites with a veggie focus.

last week's meatless monday: risotto with mushrooms and arugula
risotto is one of my favorite meals to make and to eat: it's easy, hearty, has rich flavors, and makes for great leftovers! there are endless delicious combinations to try, so here's a basic recipe to use as a starting point, and some creative ways of dressing it up!

basic risotto (serves 4 people)

1 cup of arborio rice
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of white wine
5 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1. heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. add the onion and cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes.)
2. add the rice to the pan and stir for about two minutes to toast the rice. add the butter to the pan and stir until melted.
3. pour the white wine into the pan and stir until mostly absorbed. reduce heat to medium.
4. start adding the broth 1/2 a cup at a time and stir continuously. you always want to have some liquid in the pan, but you want it to evaporate slowly. after incorporating all of the broth, the rice should be thick and creamy, and should be soft when you bite it.
5. mix in the grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

now for some variations! 
for mushrooms (i like to use baby bellas, but any kind will do) you can add them into the pan when you have almost finished incorporating the broth. this gives them time to cook without overcooking the risotto. i love to finish mushroom risotto with a drizzle of truffle oil!

to use greens, stir them in after you add the grated parmesan: the heat of the risotto will wilt them perfectly!

for lemon risotto, add the juice from one lemon and some lemon zest before adding the grated parmesan. i love this flavor with peas and shrimp!

of course, these are just a few options! time to go figure out what i'm making for meatless monday tonight!

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