Side-note: Do you guys like my new header?? It took me so long to draw and decide on how it should look (with some good input from Nate and my mom!), but I think I like it. I’m also teaching myself HTML and CSS and am working on a whole new blog design, to be unveiled semi-soon!

Baked Red Wine Rosemary Risotto ~  ElephantEats.com

Do you happen to have some red wine lying around? If Nate was home I wouldn’t, since the man loves some red wine…but he’s not, and I happened to have some red wine leftover from the bolognese I made last week. Since I’m not a drinker or a waster, I had to find another use for it! After doing a little search for recipes using red wine, I settled upon risotto.

But as you know, I’m currently all alone with no one to impress with this dinner, so I certainly wasn’t about to spend an hour standing over a pot stirring. I decided to take the lazy way out and shoved my risotto in the oven (and crossed my fingers it would work).

Baked Red Wine Rosemary Risotto ~  ElephantEats.com

Lo and behold, after about an hour it was done! You don’t save any time making it in the oven versus the stove, but it’s not active time. While it was baking I started this blog post, checked email, chatted with Nate online and cuddled with my kitty cat, so it was definitely an hour well-spent.

I pulled it out of the oven not sure what to expect, but it really looks and tastes like regular risotto. It was absolutely delicious! Although I’m partial to anything with rosemary and mushrooms, so I knew I’d love it even if it came out as one gloppy mess…which thankfully it didn’t :)

Baked Red Wine Rosemary Risotto ~  ElephantEats.com

Since I’m eating this alone and it will take me at least the entire week to finish, I’ll probably be so sick of it that I won’t want to look at risotto again for a year.

I still have half a bottle of wine left. Be prepared for some sort of chocolate cake incorporating it. Unless you guys have some better ideas?

Baked Red Wine Rosemary Risotto ~  ElephantEats.com

Baked Red Wine Rosemary Risotto with Mushrooms

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Makes 4 LARGE or 6 smaller servings

1/4 oz. dried mushrooms
3/4 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 lg onion, diced
1 lg carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 1/4 cup red wine
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
32 oz. chicken stock
1-1.5 tsp salt (depending on how salty you like things)
ground pepper

Put dried mushrooms in a cup and cover with 3/4 cup boiling water. Set aside to reconstitute for 20 min.

Preheat oven to 350 and coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

While dried mushrooms are softening, melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large sauce pot or saute pan over med high heat. Add onions and carrots and cook til onion is soft.

Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add rice and toss to coat.

Add red wine, stirring completely. Dump winey rice mixture into prepared pan.

Melt second Tbsp of butter in the saute pan. Add sliced mushrooms and stir. Remove dried mushrooms from water, reserving water. Chop mushrooms and add to other mushrooms along with rosemary. Saute til soft.

Add mushroom mixture, mushroom water, parmesan cheese, chicken broth, and salt/pepper to baking pan and stir.

Place in oven and cook uncovered for one hour, stirring halfway. Rice is done when the liquid is completely absorbed and mixture is cooked. If still undercooked/crunchy, add more water 1/3 cup at a time, cooking until absorbed. Remove from oven and cool for 10 min.

Salt more if needed. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan.

Inspired by Joy the Baker

courtesy Jodi Miller Photograpy

Well, I got my wedding photos back (you prob already got a sneak peek if you’re my fb friend) and they’re pretty much better than I ever imagined they’d be.

Jodi Miller Photography does SUCH an amazing job (you can see my engagement photos by her here). Not to mention, Jodi and her husband Kurt are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. They send all the clients they work with the most thoughtful and beautiful care packages and are just so great to work with. Anyway, you can click here to see the highlights of the wedding that they posted on their blog. There are SOOOO many more amazing pictures but I obviously can’t post them all. She did a pretty good job summing up the important parts in her blog post…but I can share some more when I go into detail with my wedding craft projects sometime in the near future.

Also, if you missed it in my prior post, check out Nate’s seriously amazing video he made for the wedding :)

courtesy Jodi Miller Photography

I thought once the wedding was done that I’d have more time for blog posts…but now instead of wedding crafts and stressing over my dress, I’m busy with thank you note-writing, cleaning the apartment (which is a mess between honeymoon unpacking and tons of wedding gifts), and the usual other million to-dos.

Scallops with Pumpkin Risotto

I do have a lot of recipes stored up though. Even though I haven’t found the time for blog posting, I’ve still been doing a decent amount of cooking. I made this recipe when we went down to my mother-in-law’s house. She always cooks dinner for us when we’re there, but I was kind of in the mood to make something, so I found this recipe and it’s definitely a winner. Hopefully you guys aren’t too sick of pumpkin yet (actually i used butternut squash).

Scallops with Pumpkin Risotto

I know I’m late on the brown butter band-wagon, since it’s been all over the food blogger world for months now, but the sage brown butter on this is amazing. It’s nutty and rich. So rich that a small portion of this meal is seriously satisfying. In fact, I think I made myself sick eating it.

Scallops with Pumpkin Risotto

Pan-Seared Scallops with Pumpkin Risotto

Sightly adapted from Gourmet, October 2001

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Serves 4

For risotto:
1 1/2 cups diced (1/4 inch) peeled seeded fresh pumpkin (preferably from sugar or cheese pumpkins) or butternut squash
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 oz grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For scallops:
20 large sea scallops (1 1/2 lb), tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage
2 tablespoons white truffle oil (optional)

Cook diced pumpkin in a medium saucepan two-thirds full of simmering water until tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Bring stock and wine to a simmer in a small saucepan and keep at a bare simmer. Cook onion in oil in a 2- to 2 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add 1 cup simmering stock and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue simmering, adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 18 minutes total. (There may be broth left over.)

Remove from heat and stir in diced pumpkin, cheese, and butter, stirring until butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper and cover to keep warm.

Prepare scallops:

Pat scallops dry very well (especially if they were pre-frozen) and season with salt. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté scallops, turning once, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. If scallops are not cooked through, reduce heat to moderate and cook about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and discard any oil remaining in skillet (do not clean skillet).

Cook butter in same skillet over moderate heat until it foams and turns light brown. Add sage and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in truffle oil if using. Season with salt.

 

As I mentioned in my recent post, Nate needs carbs to fuel his long Sunday runs during his marathon training. Since I was kind of sick of making pasta, and you’re probably sick of seeing pasta recipes, I chose another tasty carbohydrate: rice.

I realized that I had leftover arborio rice, from when I made rissoto a while back, that was just dying to be cooked up. I wanted something different. It seems that all risotto recipes have mushrooms in them, but finally I stumbled across a Tomato, Oregano, and Feta Risotto that sounded amazing.

It called for Greek flavors and ended up being one of the most delicious meals I think I’ve ever made. The lemon zest made it really fresh tasting (luckily I didn’t have any zester accidents this time) and I loved the tomato base. It’s a completley vegetarian meal.

The only change I made to the recipe below was substituting Vermouth for the ouzo, since I didn’t have any. As with all risottos, it took over an hour to make and involved constant attention and stirring, but it was absolutely worth it!


Tomato, Oregano, and Feta Risotto

From The NY Times Diner’s Journal

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serves 4-6

Time 1 hour and 15 minutes

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Carnarolli or Arborio rice
1/3 cup ouzo (or vermouth)
1 1/3 cups grated ripe tomato (see Note *)
2/3 cup creamy feta, such as Dodoni or Cephalonia, or a French feta
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
Finely grated zest of a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add onion and a little salt and stir until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and stir until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Place broth in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Raise heat to medium, and add rice to skillet. Stir until well-coated with olive oil and starting to soften slightly, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the simmering broth. Keep stirring gently until the rice absorbs all the broth. Add ouzo and stir until absorbed.

Add grated tomato and stir gently until the mixture is dense. Add remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each addition is absorbed, until the rice is creamy but al dente, 25 to 30 minutes.

Add feta and stir until melted and risotto is creamy and thick. Stir in oregano and lemon zest, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

*Note: To grate a tomato, halve crosswise and grate the cut side with a coarse grater over a strainer set over a bowl. Grate as close to the skin as possible, but discard the skin.

Comfort food is such a wonderful idea. Food that seeks to elicit memories of times when you were young, happy, and carefree.  Or maybe just food that warms you up after a cold winter day. I think risotto falls into the latter category since I don’t remember my mom making it all that often when I was a kid.

Unfortunately, try as you might, comfort food doesn’t always make you comfortable.


Case in point: Nate threw his back out a few weeks ago. I felt so helpless in this situation. I pride myself on being a great girlfriend and love taking care of people, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to ease his pain. I catered to his every whim (when I was home), bringing him food and water, but nothing could really make him feel better except time.

So, I did the next best thing that I knew how: I cooked.


I wanted to make something easy for him to eat, but delicious. This satisfied on both accounts. And I think it may have made him forget about his back for at least the first few bites 😉


Sausage and Mushroom Risotto
From Bon Appetit (8/01)

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Makes 8 1st course servings

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sweet sausage, casings removed, crumbled into 1/2-in pieces (I used turkey sausage)
8 oz. portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out, caps diced
10 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, diced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups Madeira (or Sherry)
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arborio rice or other medium grain rice (about 13 oz)
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over med-hi heat. Add sausage and saute until beginning to brown, about 3 min. Add all mushrooms, thyme and oregano and suate until mushrooms are tender, about 10 min.

Add 1/2 cup Madeira; boil until almost absorbed, about 1 min. Set aside.

Bring stock to simmer in large saucepan; remove from heat and cover to keep hot.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over med-hi heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 5 min.

Add rice; stir 2 min. Add remaining 1 cup Madeira; simmer until absorbed, about 2 min. Add 1 cup hot stock; simmer until almost absorbed, stirring often, about 3 min.

Continue to cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more stock by cupfuls, stirring often and allowing most stock to be absorbed before adding more, about 25 min.

Stir in sausage mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Pass cheese separately.