(This is a late post.)
Every once in a while, I poke my nose into a magazine to see what is going on out there in the crazy world of restaurant food, of which I know next to nothing about because I am either stuffing my cheeks with $3.50 kim bap from Woorijip in Koreatown, or wandering the streets of Hell’s Kitchen in search of that 99-cent fried chicken stand.
According to NY Mag, a new West Village restaurant is stirring things up among NY food snobs for not stirring things up. They specialize in risotto alla pilota, a low-maintenance working man’s version that is not stirred. But, according to the magazine, “there is no such thing as a quickie risotto.” I guess they figure that if you don’t stir it, then it’s just rice, and how cute is that?
I have made (what I comfortably refer to as) risotto a bunch of times and even though I just grab whatever kind of rice happens to be in my cupboard, it always comes out sumptuous and tasty. As long as you add some parmesan at the end to make it gooey, it looks and taste like risotto. It is great to snack on because you can make it from whatever you have around the kitchen. In the following recipe I used basmati rice and some veggies from the fridge.
20-Minute Asparagus and Tomato Risotto
1 tbp. butter
4 tsp. vegetable seasoning
1 c. rice
1/3 c. minced onion
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ bunch asparagus (about 1/3 lb.), chopped
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 tbp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Fill a medium pot with water, bring to a boil on the back burner, and leave simmering. Put 1 teaspoon of vegetable seasoning in a heat-proof bowl.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, and stir in the rice.
Pour one cup of the water over the vegetable seasoning, swirl to combine and pour over the rice. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. When liquid has been absorbed, repeat the process 4-5 times until rice is very soft.
Stir in the oregano, asparagus and tomato. Last, add the parmesan, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste and divide between bowls. Top with grated parmesan, if desired.
A tip for keeping asparagus fresh: Store them, refrigerated, like flowers: in a wide glass filled with 1/2″-1″ of water. Cover with a small plastic bag and secure (around the glass) with a rubber band. Right now, To The World Farm on Grand Street in Williamsburg has fresh asparagus for $1.00 a bunch!
You can also use regular vegetable broth and ladle it out as needed, but I prefer the individually measured batches because it doesn’t waste broth and it helps you control the flavor and saltiness. (And cheepiness).