February sucks. There's no way around feeling the blahs, especially when it's grey and raining like it was yesterday. I lose my inspiration for just about everything, especially cooking, so I'm glad when opportunity takes me by the hand and leads me in a new direction.
In this case, a combination of laziness and financial constraint has kept me at home and fending for myself by living off of the foods in my freezer. I arrive in the kitchen fainting from hunger and needing to fill myself with comforting food ASAP.
This risotto did the trick. Ordinarily, cooked from scratch, this dish would take about 25 minutes, which is too long by my hungry-meter. I mocked myself (as probably some of you did) when I said I freeze cooked rice in portions. Well, this recipe is the best reason I can think of to do so. I also have bacon frozen in two-strip quantities and frozen peas. Risotto in about 8 minutes. What could be better?
Now, to assuage the purists, this is not risotto. It's not arborio rice cooked in broth for just the right amount until the grains become little toothsome pearls in an iridescent sauce. It's mockzotto.
The key is with the egg. If you've ever made spaghetti carbonara (which you can watch my friend Linda make here) you'll remember that adding a beaten egg quickly to the pasta and bacon creates a velvety sauce, but cooked to long and it turns into scrambled egg. The same goes for this recipe. Make sure to remove your pan from the heat before you add the egg, mix it in quickly and serve. If not, you'll have fried rice with the eggy bits cooked solid.
Incidentally, I made mine with brown rice, verboten to true risotto, but it tasted really good.
INSTANT RISOTTO WITH BACON AND PEAS
1 tsp olive oilIn a skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon in the oil with the garlic. Be careful not to burn.
2 strips bacon, cut into pieces
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 c cooked rice (brown or white)
1/4 c frozen peas
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp shredded hard salty cheese (Romano, Parmesan)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Defrost the peas and rice in the microwave for a couple of minutes if they are frozen solid. When the bacon is crisp, add the rice and peas to the pan. Cook until heated through, stirring frequently so the rice doesn't stick, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Add the egg, butter, cheese and parsley to the rice mixture and stir quickly to coat and heat through. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.