With life being what it is today, both Chef Bill and I are finding it not only easy, but therapeutic, to turn to our outlet-of-choice: cooking! That means whipping up some of the old stand-bys, as well as creating recipes anew.
You may remember from my first book, Clean Comfort, and past blogs, I kinda have a thing for Risotto. Always have. I grew up in the 70’s and that meant dinners rife with never-should-have-been-invented convenience foods like Minute Rice. Naturally, when I had my first hypnotic bite, circa age 30, of that creamy wonder known as Risotto, it was a transformational moment.
Yes, it’s a simple carb, the kind I usually advise be regulated. And sure, it takes a more time and effort to make, but it’s time I find enjoyable. Some people choose jigsaw or crossword puzzles, or perhaps a game of darts or shooting hoops to elevate into a state of concentrated focus and temporarily leave the world and all its attendant messes behind. I’ve always done this at the stove, and the nature of cooking short-grained Arborio rice requires focus and patience to achieve that magical Goldilocks middle ground of soft but still structured rice. This can take practice and it’s humbling. But that’s another reason I adore Risotto. The hunt for the end-game instills me with a sort of sweaty-browed pride. I have to work for the reward. Sometimes, the outcome has been less than stellar, but it only serves to sharpen my skills and infuse me with resolve for the next venture.
With this extended time we all have at home, what better opportunity to give a Risotto recipe a go? Truth be told, as a writer who works from home and have for years, my life isn’t all that different now as it is for some, but I still consider the imposed slowdown a gift. I appreciate my home more than ever, I savor each meal, as well as each can and jar in our pantry. And when I created this new lemon-infused riff on the Italian standard, it reminded me it was time to follow the lead of so many inspiring citizens of the world I’ve seen since things have shifted into an unignorably intense gear: it’s time to step up the sharing and caring…in whatever way I can. A new recipe’s a nourishing start, and I hope you not only enjoy it, but find the process a pleasant distraction.
If not for my evergreen love of butter, this would be a flawless vegan recipe. And if you want it to be, simply use a vegan margarine or vegetable oil of choice. Where heavy cream once rocked my world, there is now coconut milk. The addition of coconut milk makes the dish even more creamy and because only one can is called for, there’s no overwhelming coconut taste.