Monday, September 28, 2009

Left Overs and Roasted Tomato Risotto

I wish I had taken a picture of this, but alas....

Last night I wasn't going to cook because Neil is fasting, but a friend came over and I knew my house guest (who wasn't fasting, but was at Shul with Neil) would be hungry when she got home.

The night before Barry and Jane had come over for dinner and I made a roasted heirloom tomato risotto and pan fried blue fish with sorrel sauce. The fish was all gone, but there was a good portion of risotto left. Rummaging around in the fridge I discovered a container of wild mushroom ragout with parsley and garlic and some mashed potatoes.

I threw them all into a bowl, added some salt, mixed them together, buttered a small casserole dish and emptied this somewhat unlikely mixture in, topping it all off with a generous grating of extra sharp white cheddar cheese and baked it in a 350F oven for, oh, about 30 minutes.

Let me just say for the record, I'm not so good with left overs, usually they linger in the fridge until they are transformed into a chemistry experiment and then tossed.

There is something very gratifying about being able to use things up and not waste them. Mostly though, can I just tell you, it was incredibly delicious.

It makes sense that the mushrooms would mix well with the tomato risotto, but mashed potatoes? They added a wonderful balance to the acidic tomato edge of the risotto and brought to the dish a wonderful consistency. Of course when in doubt covering anything with cheese is always a good idea.

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Risotto

This is a general suggestion of a recipe, but feel it's pretty hard to go too far wrong with it.

I used about 3-4 pounds of heirloom tomatoes of all different sizes and shapes and crammed them into a 10 x 8 baking dish. Poured a generous amount of olive oil over them, shoved to whole garlic cloves in and some basil leaves and stems (if you have savory or thyme or rosemary I think they would infuse more flavor than basil) some salt, ground black pepper and baked them for about 30 minutes in a 375 F oven.

Basically when the skins have burst they are ready. Let them cool off until you can handle them and then remove the flesh discarding the cores and most of the skin (a little bit of skin is fine no need to be super anal about it).

In the after math of the tomato roasting the pan is filled with a lovely mix of olive oil, garlic, herbs and tomato juice, reserve this to be used instead of stock in your risotto.

Add a 1/4 cup of olive oil to a good sized heavy bottomed pot under a medium flame.

Roughly chop one large red onion and add it to the hot oil
, cook for about 8 minutes until they have become translucent.

Add 2 or 3 finely shopped garlic cloves, cook for about 2 minutes.

Stir in 2 dried Arbol peppers crushed (with seeds) and 1 1/4 cups risotto rice. Cook the rice for a few minutes, then one ladle full at a time add the reserved tomato juice. Waiting after each addition for the fluid to be absorbed by the rice.

When all the juice has been added use white wine to finish (I used about 3/4 cup of a GrunerVeltliner).

When the rice is just soft stir in about 1 cup of grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust the seasoning. I added chopped basil to the top of the dish, but think it would be better to actually mix in a cup of chopped basil in addition to a few springs as garnish.

I served this on the side with pan friend blue fish. In retrospect I think it should be in the center of the plate and the fish on top, it was the combination of oily, juicy, fish mixed with the cheesy acidic tomato the entire thing garnished with basil and fresh roughly chopped tomatoes and maybe even some mixed greens. Conversely in lieu of fish I think a nice pan friend Pork chop would work nicely as well.

Bon Appetite!

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