As my family and I prepared to move out of state I searched my cabinets to clear out food that I did not want to take with me. Whenever I move I try not to buy food. Instead, I attempt to cook with whatever I can find in our pantry or fridge. My son discovered limp celery this morning, so I threw it in a crock-pot with a few onions thinking that I could do something with it later. I was expecting to make some soup, but by the afternoon I had discovered arborio rice in the cupboard, so I decided to make risotto instead.
I reached into my spice rack to grab saffron when I discovered that the container was depleted. Saffron is a Mediterranean delicacy that derives from the crocus flower. Cultivators individually extract the stigmas off of the flowers, which is a task that can only be performed by hand, thus saffron is very expensive.
I had no interest in driving to the grocery store to purchase an eight dollar thimble of saffron, however, by the time I had made my upsetting discovery I had already started to heat up my olive oil on a saucepan. A few years back I made risotto ai porcini without saffron, and the experience almost made me lose my meal. I learned never to make that mistake again. Then an idea popped into my head, like a light bulb. I decided to use what I did have, Indian spices. I’d make a risotto alla masala.
I went through my spice rack and grabbed random stuff and threw it in a pot. The result was fabulous. The aroma permeated the kitchen, attracting my children who quickly discovered the cause of their olfactory elation. My kids eagerly consumed the creation, and my wife called me a genius, so I figured I would share the recipe.
My measurements are simply estimates based on what I think I did. You can tweak your recipe however, you’d like. This recipe is vegetarian and was completely vegan until I threw some delicious cheese and butter in at the end. I suppose if your body or feelings are sensitive to dairy, you could easily take them out.
Enjoy my Italian-Indian Fusion recipe that I call:
Risotta alla Masala
3 – Garlic Cloves
¼ C. – EV Olive Oil
1 C. – Dry White Wine
1 ¼ C. – Arborio Rice
1 Tsp. – Freshly diced Ginger
1 – Large Red Potato (or two medium potatoes)
¼ Tsp. – Paprika
¼ Tsp. – Cayenne Pepper
Pinch – Red Pepper Flakes
½ Tsp. – Cardamom
½ Tsp. – Coriander
¼ Tsp. – Nutmeg
¾ Tsp. – Cumin
½ Tsp. – Black Pepper
Salt – (I made my vegetable stock from scratch, so I needed more. If you are going to use vegetable broth cubes, you’ll have to play around with the quantity)
7 C. – Vegetable Broth
2 C. – Freshly cut green beans (or Frozen, but not canned)
¼ C. – Fresh Cilantro
4 Oz. – Butter
½ C. – Parmiggiano Reggiano
Preheat saucepan to medium. Sauté garlic. Add garlic, Arborio rice, ginger, and thinly diced red potato and cook for five minutes or until rice is golden. Add dry white wine and cook down until most of the wine is absorbed.
Lower your heat to medium-low. Add spices and vegetable broth. Ladle one cup of broth at a time until the broth is absorbed. Around your fourth or fifth ladle, add green beans that have been washed and cut into one-inch bits. The whole time you must be stirring constantly as you would any other risotto. When the broth is completely absorbed the rice should be plump. If it is not, you can add one extra cup of water extra and boil it down into the rice. Don’t burn the risotto.
When the rice is moist, soft, and delicious, turn off the pan off. Add the cilantro, butter, and parmiggiano reggiano. Stir. Serve immediately.