Yes, it was time to clean out the refrigerator and use up some fresh, local produce before it went bad. That meant time to resurrect Renegade Risotto for the first time of the season. This time, I wanted to use two small summer squashes, a very mildly hot large pepper plus chicken broth and bits from the “free” parts of my recently purchased chicken thighs. I also had on hand onion and herbs. You can get the basic recipe at the Renegade Risotto post. Or, here’s how I made it this time.
If you’re comparing the two versions, you’ll see some differences, which may give hints to those of you who are reluctant to experiment. Also, I increased the recipe by half this time.
Renegade risotto, one version
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 cup white wine or vermouth
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley or other herbs (optional) 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 1/2 cups (approximately) nicely flavored broth, warm, divided
- 3 cups yellow summer squash, cut into fat matchsticks
- 1 cup diced very mildly hot green pepper
- 1/4 cup chicken bits
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in heavy 3-quart pot over medium heat. Add onions; cook 1 minute.
- Add rice and salt. Stir well to coat rice with oil. Cook a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
- When mixture is fragrant and some rice grains are getting a touch of golden color, add wine if desired, and stir. Add about a cup of broth, and stir still mixture begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer while you have a glass of wine or start a salad.
- Peek at the rice every few minutes and stir now and then. When the broth has been mostly absorbed, add another cup of broth. Stir until mixture returns to the simmer, then go finish your wine or salad.
- When the broth is mostly absorbed, add just enough more broth to cover the rice. Again, stir till at the simmer and check periodically until most of the broth is absorbed.
- By now, about 30 minutes or so has passed, and the rice will be very firm but not crunchy. (If not, add more liquid and cook until rice is at that stage.) Throw in your herbs and vegetables.
- Stir, and continue cooking until vegetables are just tender or al dente, about 5 minutes. The rice will be tender but firm, not mushy. If necessary, add more broth, a little at a time, to keep mixture moist but not soupy, which will depend on how much liquid your vegetables give off.
- Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan, and serve. Makes 5-6 servings.
Here are two other risottos I’ve made the renegade way: