Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day Recap

I've always preferred to keep it simple on V day, and this year Ben and I didn't want to play into the lets-spend-a-ton-of-money-just-because-its-February-14th pressure.  So we decided to make dinner together. Cooking can sometimes feel like a chore, but it can also be a fun date night - especially when you have your favorite bottle of wine (I was so excited to find Cakebread at KNB Wine Cellars last weekend!).

Ben & I.
We splurged on our fav bottles.

We decided on risotto, a simple salad and crusty bread.  Risotto was the perfect main dish because it feels so indulgent. The beauty of it is that the rice releases starch into the broth as it cooks, which creates its own creamy dressing. When you add a bit of parm at the end (you can also add butter and/or truffle oil), it creates a meal that is rich and filling. Plus, it's really easy to make. Win - win - win.

I didn't plan ahead so I just thew in a bunch of veggies that I had in my kitchen. I'm really into making do with what I have lately, so I love the endless variations you can make with risotto (another personal fav is this butternut squash kind). I left out a lot of the butter, cheese and cream from other recipes so it could be guilt-free. Here is my impromptu recipe.

<3 Trader Joe's Arborio Rice, & the Swanson's brand of stock.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Veggies of choice: 3 carrots, 1 zucchini, handful of frozen peas, 4 chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 10 oz arborio rice
  • EVOO
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups heated chicken stock (you can use veggie stock too)
  • Big handfuls of chopped spinach & chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

  1. Use a medium saucepan (I LOVE my le creuset!). Saute the onion in some olive oil. You can add in veggies or mushrooms at this point (I added the carrots & zucchini).
  2. Add the uncooked rice and stir until well coated and translucent.
  3. Add the wine and cook until evaporated.
  4. Stir in 1 cup hot stock and simmer gently. Add the bay leaf & frozen peas. Stir every so often so it doesn't burn.
  5. When the broth has been absorbed, add another cup. Continue doing this for 18 - 20 minutes.
  6. At the end, take out the bay leaf & add cheese, tomatoes, basil and spinach. Salt to taste. You can also add a little butter, truffle oil, cream etc.
  7. Serve it while it's hot & enjoy!

Risotto in the le creuset, hot broth in the small pan.


  1. I'm so excited to find your recipes on here! And thanks for including a pic of WHICH rice you get...I never know what to buy.

  2. Yum! I'm getting hungry reading this. So excited to try it!

  3. This sounds delicious! Can't wait to try this one.

  4. This is a great idea -- I never realized you could leave out most of the butter!!