I rarely follow directions to the letter when cooking. Recipes to me are merely suggestions.
It may come from the way my father cooked. There were times he simply threw things together in a pot and it came out tasting great.
Last night I did a bit of that.
I started out with Trader Joe’s mushroom and herb risotto. But I had a few items in the frig that needed to be used or chucked. That’s the way it goes when you live alone, because food comes packaged for families and there always seems to be extra.
First, I browned some chopped Hillshire Farms Italian turkey sausage in olive oil, approximately the same amount as the suggestion on the risotto package for sautéing the rice. The sausage fell into that category of being used or chucked. Chopped onions went into the pan and the chicken broth (again, Trader Joe’s) went into a second pan to be warmed – and this is what makes this a “nearly one-dish” meal, because I needed a pan to warm up the broth.
As the chicken broth neared “hot” and the sausage and onions were sautéed nicely, I threw in the rice and I sautéed that for a couple of minutes before pouring in the hot chicken broth. The mushroom and herb seasoning packet also went in. I followed the directions for sautéing the rice, reduced the heat and covered it.
More hot broth was needed, because the rice wasn’t quite tender enough after the first three cups were cooked off. It was a hassle, but not a huge one, and I think the effort was well worth it. Again, heat any additional liquid that has to go into the pan or the cooking will be interrupted.
Near the end, I added about a quarter bag of baby spinach (again, Trader Joe’s) and let the steam from the remaining liquid soften the leaves.
The deep green of the cooked spinach was a pleasant visual contrast to the tan of the risotto.
If spinach isn’t your vegetable, pick another. I considered throwing in a handful of baby carrots, which also would have added a visual contrast and a different flavor.
I served the risotto in a bowl topped with grated asaigo cheese (yep, from Trader Joe’s), but I think a nice, bold parmesan might have been better. Instead of a visual contrast, it would have been a flavor contrast.
There you go, a nearly one-dish dish.