Hey guys, it’s your friendly, neighbourhood Urban Prepper here, back with more tips on how to survive the Coronacopolypse in the big city.
By now, we are all getting tired of our handful of tried and true recipes, especially since, suddenly, we need to cook ALL of our meals. No more grabbing a breakfast sandwich at Union Station, take out Thai for lunch and dinner and drinks in Leslieville with friends. If you have kids, it’s even worse because they expect to be fed. All day.
I am going to start sharing recipes that are not too difficult and that make use of pantry items, requiring little or no fresh ingredients and the best place to start is risotto. Risotto is one of those dishes that people assume is complicated, but it’s not. It does require hand’s on time but that is now something we all have plenty of. You can make this, only using items from your pantry and your freezer – okay, you need parmesan but a big chunk of parm will keep in your fridge for months so if you don’t have one already, put that on your next grocery delivery list.
Fresh Pea Risotto
serves 3 (4 if it’s not the main course)
1 tbls olive oil
1 tbls butter
3 slices bacon, sliced into thin strips (you can use pancetta if you have it and skip it if you have neither)
1 shallot (or just 1/4 of any old onion)
1 small clove garlic
1 1/2 cup arborio rice (no arborio? Use sushi rice, it works fine in a pinch)
3/4 cup white wine (no wine? Use beer)
fresh thyme (1/2 tsp dried will do if you have no fresh thyme or use another herb you like better)
3/4 cup frozen peas
1000 ml chicken stock (you can use boxed or Better Than Bouillon with water)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
1-2 tbls buttter
Put your frozen peas in a strainer, Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.
Put the chicken stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it not quite come to a simmer – you just want to make sure it’s hot.
In a deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tbls of butter and sauté the bacon until the bacon just starts to take on some colour. If you aren’t using bacon or pancetta, skip it.
At that point, add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few more minutes.
Throw in the rice and stir around for about 2 minutes until the rice becomes opaque and the bacon will be looking like it’s cooked. Pour in the white wine (or beer) and stir until the wine is almost totally evaporated.
Now you start adding in the chicken stock, 1 ladle full at a time. After each addition, stir in a figure eight until it’s almost evaporated before adding the next ladle full of stock. I like to use a wooden spoon and drink a glass of wine while I do this… channel my inner Nonna. Keep this up for about 15 minutes. After the first ladle of stock, add in the fresh thyme ( or dried) I don’t want to tell you how much thyme to use because it’s totally subjective but I use the leaves from about 15 stalks of thyme. Just taste it and see if you want more or not as you go.
Add in the peas and keep ladling stock in for another five minutes. After the 20 minutes of cooking it should be perfect – a bit of bite but not hard and not soft and mushy and a little bit creamy.
Take the pan off the heat and beat in the butter and cheese with a wooden spoon. I cover the pan for just a minute while I get the bowls ready for plating so it can kind of steam for a minute and soften up a bit.
Serve in shallow bowls.