There is a really good produce place close to our home. They call themselves the Everyday Farmer’s Market.
We went in there earlier this week to stock-up on our favorite veggies. Last night I made risotto with everything that was leftover from our shopping spree.
Last night’s risotto is similar to the others I’ve made except this time I used 2 eggplants and 1 huge portobello mushroom.
Preheat your oven to 400F, slice the eggplant and portobello, and set them aside until it’s time to roast them.
Chop the fennel into thin slices.
And the fronds — we will use them later.
Slice the leek and soak the slices in a cup of water to remove the dirt that gets trapped in-between the layers.
I love this Thai Coconut Curry chicken stock for risotto, it adds a wonderful layer of flavor.
Substitute vegetable stock if you want to make this a vegetarian meal.
Warm the stock over low heat so that it is warm when you add it to the risotto.
Sauté the fennel over medium heat in about 2 tablespoons of butter.
After they start to get soft, add the leeks — just the leeks, not the water they were soaking in.
When the fennel and leeks are soft and beautifully sautéed, add a cup of Arborio Rice.
You want the rice to get toasted as well as coated with the butter, leek, and fennel flavors.
Next, pour a glass of dry white wine.
Take a sip and then add the rest of it to the pan.
(Of course you should also pour another one to drink.)
Whisk until the rice soaks up all of the wine.
Now is a good time to start roasting the eggplant and mushrooms. Drizzle them with olive oil and toss them into a 400F oven for about 20 minutes.
Salt halfway through the cooking process.
Back to risotto.
Add the warm stock to the risotto one cup at a time. Continue to whisk and add another cup of stock when the previous cup has been soaked up by the rice.
This takes a little patience but it is so worth it.
Once all of the stock is added –one cup at a time-, you’ll be left with a creamy risotto. But not creamy enough.
So, add 2-3 dollops of mascarpone.
It’s okay. You’re cooking with a ton of vegetables. Add another dollop if you want to!
Next add the fennel fronds.
Combine everything together, taste, and toss in some salt and pepper, if needed.
The eggplant and mushrooms should be beautifully roasted by now.
Throw them into the risotto.
Gently mix everything together.
You know I am a big-time carnivore, but this was an extremely satisfying meal.
Of course it would also be the perfect side dish with beef, chicken, or any seafood.