Summer Risotto

The fledging stages (Click to Enlarge)

The fledgling stages (Click to Enlarge)

Sure there are those packets of ready made risotto but nothing beats making it from scratch yourself. Fellow Foodists Colin has written about his Best Risotto Ever (and the amended New Best Risotto Ever), and I revisited those for inspiration but wanted to do partake in something a little more my level (not that I’m not going to try his recipes soon). I had made a lemon asparagus risotto a few weeks ago and after having asparagus overload for a few weeks wanted to try another seasonal variation.

Once you’ve mastered a risotto base it’s fairly easy take it in a variety of different directions. My introduction to a basic risotto was by way Jamie Oliver and since then have freed myself from the recipe (always an important step!).

Last night’s variation was to prepare an avocado and vine tomato salsa that was folded as the last step.

Avocados salsa (click to enlarge)

Avocados salsa (click to enlarge)

Avocado Salsa (measured for 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice)
3 avocados (diced)
A handful of vine tomatos (diced)
1/2 Shallot (diced)
1 Lime juiced

Prep the salsa ahead of time and just fold it in and you’ve got a great summer risotto. I actually made this with just two avocados and it was a little light so increased the recipe above to three. This particular recipe needed something else to top it off. Perhaps some bacon or pancetta? Maybe next time, but for now I just popped a nice bottle of La Frenz.

The finished product (click to enlarge)

The finished product (click to enlarge)

But all this was last night and after cooking a pretty healthy batch of risotto I was left with lots to use the next day. I remember hearing once that pan frying risotto was a great use of any leftovers so set out to give it a whirl. My original plan was to make risotto cakes but that plan fell apart as quickly as my cakes so ended up by just stir frying some. Served it up with shaved parmesan and fresh parsley and it hit the spot almost as well as the original serving!

Refried the next day (click to enlarge)

Refried the next day (click to enlarge)

I’ve been playing around with different ways to finish and flavour the risotto, but always work from the same base. Any suggestions for some variations to the basic risotto recipes?


6 Responses to “Summer Risotto”

  1. Posted on June 22nd, 2009

    You could make a frittata or egg pancake like what the Italians do with leftover spaghetti. We tried it with bucatini all’amatriciana and it was SO good…and dead simple. Here’s a link from someone else rhapsodizing about it:

  2. Posted on June 22nd, 2009

    Using pearl barley instead of rice makes for a very definite change.

    Also, I often use vermouth instead of white wine for a slightly different flavour.

    I like to do a mushroom risotto with porcini and whatever wild mushrooms are in season. A trick I learned from Cooks’ Illustrated is to use a little splash of soy sauce – sounds odd, but the small amount of soy amplifies the mushroom flavours (umami?)

    A classic risotto that I really enjoy is a green pea risotto – excellent with seafood. This is the perfect dish for when fresh peas start to come into season. You can go pure vegetarian with it or include a little bit of proscuitto.

  3. Posted on June 22nd, 2009

    Definitely umami, Jer. In fact, you can buy mushroom flavoured soy sauce to heighten that effect.

  4. Posted on June 22nd, 2009

    To finish – try a scoop of marscarpone. Softened butter and Parmasaen always works well too. This summer risotto uses a bit of marscarpone – it’s delicious –

  5. Posted on July 17th, 2009

    mmmm…. Marscarpone. I like to use leftover risotto and marscarpone (and/or any other kinds of cheese you fancy) to stuff zuchinni blossoms. You can batter and fry them in a more traditional preparation, or my favourite (and very simple), delicately close the end of the stuffed blossom and throw them in one of those inexpensive bamboo steamers. The blossom keeps its beautiful colours and can be served a number of different ways. Did I mention they taste fantastic as well! I had the idea after trying some fantastic risotto balls, and figured this could be another creative (and delicious) use of risotto leftovers.

  6. Posted on June 2nd, 2011

    Really love risottos and this one is super tasty. When the spring and summer vegetables hit, you gotta use them as often as possible. I do a pea and shrimp risotto is that I (and my wife) think is pretty awesome. Check out the video here:

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