Vegging Out

This week, Steve and I are vegetarians!  While we have a stash of good ol' beef dogs and turkey burgers for Henry, the two of us are trying out going meatless to see if we eat better, feel healthier, etc... Its not going to be a complete lifestyle change or anything like that, but if nothing else it's a fun challenge for meal planning! (Yes, I think meal planning is fun...)

Monday kicked things off well with a Caprese sandwich, or at least what was supposed to be. I toasted the sourdough and roasted the tomato slices which made them really sweet and concentrated, but because we didn't have mozzarella, I used goat cheese instead, and then topped it off with basil. So good...

We didn't actually get to eat together tonight, but I spent part of the afternoon making a pretty healthy risotto with the thought that we could re-heat the leftovers as needed to keep up with the vegetarian theme of the week. Yes, I realize that this recipe does use chicken stock so its not truly vegetarian, but its the thought that counts, right?!

I find I always let my risotto go a little bit to long. I used 5 cups of chicken stock when I should have stopped myself at 4.  Test your rice as you cook - it should be cooked through but still have a little bite to it. It will keep cooking as you add the rest of the ingredients, and if you cook it to perfection before that point, it will end up a bit mushy. The flavor will still be great, but it won't be creamy and luscious like it should be.

Summertime Risotto
Adapted from Self.com

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 cups diced zucchini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups nonfat chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter butter
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper

Heat oven to 250°. Gently toss tomatoes in 2 tsp oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake for 1 hour.

Heat 1 tsp oil on medium heat in a medium pan. Cook garlic and half the onion until translucent; add zucchini and cook 5 minutes. Puree zucchini mixture in a blender with lemon juice and 1 tbsp oil. Add 2/3-3/4 cup of the roasted tomatoes and puree until completely incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium pot on medium heat and sauté remaining onion until translucent. Add rice and cook 2 minutes. Gradually pour in wine, stirring until rice absorbs wine. Add broth 1 cup at a time until absorbed, stirring continually for 20 minutes or until rice is tender (add more broth if necessary). Once rice is cooked, stir in zucchini puree, butter and cheese.

Top risotto with remaining roasted tomatoes and enjoy!

Serves 6

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