Apart from making various sauces, leftover vegetable soups can be used in lieu of vegetable broth for making risotto, as I recently discovered. Everyone has their own little invention; I have my own. I normally manage to finish leftovers but for some reason, I underestimated the quantity of vegetable soup I made a couple dinners ago. Not wanting to have soup for the third time nor wanting to dispose of it, I was lost for ideas until I nearly forgot I had a surplus of risotto nesting comfortably in my dark pantry. Growing tired of serving vegetable and rice with fish, I concocted a new risotto recipe idea. I simply put leftover vegetable soup and risotto together and voilà: behold the vegetable risotto. Without trying to be presumptuous, sometimes an empty growling stomach invokes creative cooking ideas. All it takes is an empty stomach, boredom, and some wheels spinning in my head (and accessible ingredients) and I’ve already created a meal in no time with very little effort.
If you already know how to make risotto, then you know how time consuming and fussy it can be. In actuality, however, it only takes approximately 20 minutes to cook. I used leftover vegetable soup and didn’t even bother to strain the vegetables. Cooking with risotto is more of a technique than a side-dish. Once you get a basic understanding and feel for cooking risotto, you can create a dish that is very satisfying, easy to prepare, and doesn’t fail to impress family members and guests alike. Once you develop the confidence in cooking with risotto, do not be afraid to experiment or apply your own technique once you have followed the basic steps.
I feel that the vegetables makes this risotto a more hearty side-dish. While risotto is a side-dish that has become associated with swanky high end restaurants, it is the epitome of Italian comfort food. An easy risotto recipe is not as elusive as you may think. There is a myriad of risotto recipes and ideas to indulge in and not just your standard mushroom or pea risotto. To turn this vegetable risotto recipe into a meal, you can add cheese, leftover pieces of chicken, beef, or even tofu. I once made risotto pudding when I didn’t have rice in the house and it spoke for itself. Whether you are looking for a comforting midweek dinner idea or an elegant dinner party appetizer, this vegetable risotto recipe is a guaranteed winner. I know this may seem like an overused cliche to you but I wouldn’t be publishing a defective recipe.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups of aborio rice
- 3/4 cup of dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 6-8 cups of leftover vegetable soup
- 1 cup of cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper for taste
Heat leftover vegetable soup in a sauce pan over low heat. Heat olive oil in a large shallow skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute till fragrant. Add rice and saute for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and stir constantly until fully absorbed. Add one ladle of vegetable soup with the vegetables in them a time and stir until soup is absorbed. Continue this process for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Yields 6 servings