food

Gone are the days of stirring risotto! This recipe has bailed me out many times
during a busy week—it’s easy comfort food. Instead of being held prisoner by the
wooden spoon, the convenience here is baking in the oven. Now you’re free to do
other things such as chase after small children running around the house naked.
Make sure to use arborio rice, which is classic for any type of risotto. Its natural
starches release into the stock, making the risotto extra creamy and luxurious.
This needs nothing more than a handful of your favorite seasonal greens and a
good dusting of Parmesan cheese.

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter, divided
1 cup (160 g) diced onions
¼ cup (25 g) diced celery
4½ cups (950 g) arborio rice
Splash of dry white vermouth

5 cups (1.2 L) Triple-Duty Chicken Stock, plus more as needed
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wedge of Parmesan cheese, for grating
4 small handfuls of seasonal greens or herbs, such as pea shoots, basil or parsley
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a large Dutch oven, warm the olive oil and 1 tablespoon (15 g) of butter over
medium heat. Sauté the onions and celery until soft, about 3-5 minutes. If the
vegetables start to catch on the bottom of the pan lower the heat and add a
splash of stock to slow down the cooking process.
Add the rice, and stir well to coat the grains. Toast the rice for about 1-2 minutes
to intensify the flavor.
Pour in the vermouth. Continue to cook until the moisture has absorbed into the
rice, 1-2 minutes. Feel free to pour yourself a glass while you’re stirring! Add the
chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.
Place the lid on top and pop it into the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. When
the risotto is ready, remove the lid and peek inside; it should look creamy and
taste perfectly tender or al dente. Quick Tip: Classic risotto is not mushy. If yours
is too thick, add more stock to get the texture nice and oozy. Risotto is forgiving.
To finish, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 g) of butter and grate some
Parmesan cheese directly into the pot—as much or as little as you’d like. Cover
for about 5 minutes or so, to let it rest. This is just one of those “things” that
makes risotto taste better.
Serve in shallow bowls topped with the greens and plenty of extra cheese.

 

STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC CHICKEN SALAD WITH
GLUTEN-FREE
My son refuses to eat strawberries that look “weird.” If they’re not perfectly
shaped or dark ruby red in color, he’ll insist on eating another snack (but they’re
organic!). We have a wild strawberry patch in our backyard and after rejecting
several perfectly okay berries, Dillon handed over his bowl with utter
disappointment. I made salad.
Using leftover shredded chicken is not only quick and convenient, but makes this
salad wonderfully substantial. The quick-candied walnuts, addicting on their
own, can be swapped out for pecans or even cashews if you’d like. It’s
empowering to know what can be done with banished berries and humble
leftovers.

 

QUICK-CANDIED WALNUTS
1 tbsp (15 g) unsalted butter
¼ cup (55 g) brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 ml) water
1 cup (100 g) walnut halves
Pinch of coarse salt, to taste

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
¼ cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
½ cup (118 ml) olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head of Bibb lettuce
2 cups (250 g) cooked shredded chicken
2 cups (330 g) sliced strawberries
½ cup (136 g) crumbled goat cheese
For the walnuts, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper—you will
need this for the candied walnuts to cool. In a small skillet, melt the butter, sugar
and water over low heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, and simmer to
thoroughly dissolve the sugar, about 2-3 minutes. Add the walnuts, a pinch of
salt and stir well to coat. Resist the urge to sneak a bite; the sugar is incredibly
hot and you’ll burn your tongue!
Transfer the walnuts to your lined baking sheet. Spread them out evenly to cool,
about 5-10 minutes.
To prepare the dressing, add the first four ingredients to an empty jam jar.
Season with salt and pepper. Screw the lid on tight and shake vigorously to
blend.
For the salad, gently tear the lettuce leaves into bite-size pieces. Add to a large
bowl. Add the chicken and sliced strawberries.
When you’re ready to eat, lightly drizzle the salad with some of the dressing. Top
with crumbled goat cheese and candied walnuts.