Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thaitalian: the risotto of necessity

So last week, I made a fusion risotto. If you're thinking that by fusion I mean some high-concept gourmet feat, forget it! This was the risotto of necessity, created in response to the fact that we had basically nothing in the house. We're finding ourselves a bit broke this month, and so are trying to eat out of the pantry instead of making frequent trips to the grocery store. This means being flexible about possibly strange-sounding mixtures of ingredients and flavors, but so far we've been having pretty good results!

The taste was somewhere between Italian and Thai, but ultimately it was creamy and carby and simple and comforty - everything risotto should be. The squash gave it a nice seasonality, and combined with the saffron to give the dish a brilliant yellow hue. I'll give a recipe, but it won't be exact, because I was dealing with a little of this and a little of that, whatever I could find. As usual with my recipes, feel free to mix things up and play around to create something to your taste.

Thaitalian Risotto (serves 4-6)
  • 1-2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 keffir lime leaves
  • 1-2 cups of diced cooked butternut squash (about 1/2 of 1 squash) - roasted squash works really well
  • 1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice (I combined the last of our carnaroli and sushi rice to make 1 cup!)
  • broth made up of at least 4 cups of water, 1-2 drops of chili oil, and a pinch of saffron
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup coconut milk or coconut cream
  • salt and white pepper to taste
Heat the broth so that it's hot, but not boiling. Keep it hot, on a back burner, as you make the rest of the risotto.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sautée for a few minutes, until translucent. Add the bay leaves and keffir lime leaves, and heat through. Add the butternut squash.

Add the rice and stir around with the onions and oil, taking care to coat every grain of rice with oil, and to allowing it to become toasted and fragrant. Add a pinch of salt and pepper at this time.

Using 1/2 cup of broth at a time (most ladles are about 1/2 cup, so just use ladlefuls), add broth into the rice mixture. Stir around continuously, adding the next ladle of broth only after all the previous batch has been completely absorbed by the rice. Keep adding broth in this manner, until your rice is done. Depending on your rice and your pan, this could take different amounts of liquid.

Your risotto is done when the rice is soft and creamy, but still has the faintest al dente texture. Once you've reached this stage, turn off the heat. Finish off your risotto with coconut milk or cream, stirring to combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Enjoy! You know what they say, necessity is the mother of... fusion.



Eve Love said...

mmmhhh... looks like a nice automn meal.
I usually hate "fusion" cooking, but I like the way you do yours.

scottishvegan said...

Gorgeous colour...mmmm!

Veganista said...

Hey, I like the sound of this! Creative! And the colour is very attractive. Once again I've got a few posts of yours to catch up on, Bazu...looking forward to it.

Mihl said...

I like your risotto of neccessity and beautiful yellow, by the way.

VeggieGirl said...

Bazu, you've really outdone yourself this time - Thaitalian Risotto?? BRILLIANT!! and thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe :0)

Jody from VegChic said...

Well that looks and sounds delicious! Just think, you never would have tried that mixture of spices if you weren't using up stuff in your kitchen. Sometimes necessity turns into luck!

Celine said...

feed me, Seymour!

Ashasarala said...

That looks so good. It reminds me of baked mac n cheese, at least by the picture, but sounds even better! Sometimes the best meals come from being artsy fartsy in the pantry.

textual bulldog said...

do you know that i've never had a risotto before? yours looks exciting and delish and the bottom picture, yes, a bit like mac and cheese. but i used to love mac and cheese, so that's a really good thing :)

vko said...

oh, carby & creamy- right up my alley, the ultimate comfort food- fusion or otherwise.

aTxVegn said...

Thaitalian - I love it! And it looks and sounds delicious.

Bazu, I would really love to get your opinion on something freaky that happened to me today. If you're up for it, would you email me at Thanks, Diann

Vegan_Noodle said...

And this is what you get when you're trying to clean out your pantry?!? Oh my, sounds like some pretty fancy fusion cuisine to me!