Found in: Most grocery stores
Cost: Approx. $2.50 per pound
Great for: Making risotto
Let’s face it: rice is cheap. I recommend having any kind of rice on hand in your kitchen as it is a useful starch to round out a quick meal. But arborio rice is special because when cooked it becomes creamier and chewier than most rices. That is why it’s the best rice for making the fanciest cheap food of all–risotto! Risotto is a dish that can stand on it’s own or serve as an elegant bed to seared fish or roasted meats. So keep some arborio rice in your kitchen and have fun stirring up this ultimate one-dish-wonder.
I served this super-seasonal pumpkin risotto with quick pan-seared scallops. But it’s great on it’s own or with easy roasted chicken or pork.
Place diced pumpkin in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan and keep at a bare simmer. Cook onion and garlic in oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a 2 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and continue stirring until liquid is absorbed. Stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add 1 cup simmering stock and cook at, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue simmering and stirring the rice, 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. If you run out of stock use warm water to continue cooking and stirring the rice. It should take about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in diced pumpkin, cheese, and butter, stirring until butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.