I love risotto, but I’ve never needed to make it because my roommate makes several incredible variations. My favorite kind that she makes is a gorgeous pink beet risotto with an expert blend of cheeses mixed in and on top. I know there’s absolutely no way I can top her recipes, so I’ve found my own in a cookbook that’s filled with easy recipes that all take 30 minutes or less to make!
New Food Fast by Donna Hay, William Morrow Cookbooks (2003)
New Food Fast is built around busy people who want fresh dinner ideas that they can create with a few ingredients they already have. The cookbook is divided into 3 sections: recipes that take 10, 20 or 30 minutes to make – provided you have the supplies already. This risotto is from the “30 minutes” chapter, and although there were far more vegetarian choices from the earlier chapters, I had made something similar before. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad or noodle bowl, but the point is to venture into new cooking projects that I haven’t had experience with before. Cooking the same things over and over gets boring, no matter how delicious they are!
After exploring Donna Hay’s website, it seems that her recipes are great for people who are at a loss for what to cook. Everything is sorted by how much time you have, what meal you’re cooking, how many guests, and so on. With categories like “packed with veggies” and “for busy weeknights,” I’m confident that Donna’s website will yield more cooking projects for me in the future.
Modifications, Testing and Recommendations: I was wary that the recipe said would only take 30 minutes to prepare, but it took exactly 30 minutes and a few seconds once I started cooking. It only took 12 minutes to prep the ingredients before starting, but it usually doesn’t take too long to juice a lemon, chop a leek and grate some cheese. I used arborio rice like the recipe recommended, although my roommate says she uses carnaroli because it’s “the caviar of rice” – apparently it keeps its shape better than other types of rice during the slow cooking required for risotto.
The risotto was deliciously light and perfect for warmer months. Unlike most recipes that call for butter and cream in addition to cheese, this recipe uses a combination of broth and white wine to cook the rice. The tangy lemon juice was a nice balance to the creaminess, and the basil and leek added some summery flavors as well. I was apprehensive that the rice would be both “al dente and creamy” but I have learned to trust in the recipe and make it once by the book before adding my own modifications.
All in all, this recipe passed the “roommate risotto test” and I would definitely make it again.
“Wine is meant to be with food – that’s the point of it.” – Julia Child