Food for Thought

Or just food. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite busy and finding good recipes that don’t take up much time is a must for me. So I thought I’d dedicate a day to posting about recipes I’ve made and loved. I’d love to hear yours, too.

First up, crock pot risotto. I know, that probably makes a chef go into shock, but I don’t always have the time to stand over a stove, constantly stirring. When I try that is when Leo is sure to dump cat litter on Charlotte’s bed (yes, that’s happened) or Charlotte gets hurt, or whatever. So I just don’t have time for that. Now, this also isn’t a throw-in-the-crock-pot-in-the-morning-and-forget-until-dinner dish – it’s only in for about 2 hours.

I also can’t leave recipes well enough alone, but absolutely must tweak them. I started with this recipe, but have made alterations. I use the same instructions, for the most part, but have made some changes to the ingredients.

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay, divided use (use more chicken stock if not using wine)
1 1/4 cups brown rice
3 3/4 cups chicken stock (best if homemade!)
2 tablespoons butter (or Earth Balance soy-free)
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced                                                                                                                                            fennel, parsley, oregano, pepper, garlic, to taste                                                                                                              thyme, to taste (for mushrooms)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional garnish                                                                                                          Italian sausage

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until just soft, but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine (or stock) and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add rice and stir and cook until it begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Scrape rice and onion mixture into slow-cooker. (Set skillet aside and do not wash.) Turn slow-cooker to high and add broth. Add herbs to taste. Cover and cook on high until tender and moist but not soupy, about 1 3/4 hours to 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, using the same skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil and butter together over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release their liquid, about 4 minutes. Add thyme. Add 1/4-cup wine (or stock) and stir and cook another minute or two to allow some of the wine to evaporate. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, before placing the mushrooms in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and refrigerate. Just before rice is done, remove mushrooms from refrigerator and microwave, uncovered on high, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Cook sausage in same skillet and refrigerate.

Uncover the risotto. Serve immediately, topped with the heated mushrooms and Parmesan, if desired. Serve with sausage (note – I put the sausage on the side only because of food intolerances; feel free to add it in earlier if you don’t have to avoid any of the ingredients in it). I also serve with crusty homemade garlic bread. Delicious! And now I’d best get my stock out of the freezer if I’m going to make this tonight.


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