We’re huge Lost fans in our house, so when Tuesday at 7:30 hit and we were both still en route home, it would have been easy to order some takeout and call it a night. But we needed to stop at the grocery store for basics anyway. And neither of us were feeling takeout. So we decided to challenge ourselves to see if we could shop for, prep, and cook dinner by the time Lost started.
We worked on our plan of attack on the ride to the grocery store and decided we were both in the mood for something simple and easy on the stomach. Andrew was in the mood to grill. Grilled fish it was. The man at the seafood counter just happened to have a fresh cut of swordfish that he said would be perfect for the grill. Andrew and him talked shop. I ran around like a mad woman grabbing the basics we needed. Somehow we ended up with scallops in our cart, too. We were in and out in 10 mins.
Once home, we decided to divide and conquer. Andrew was team seafood. I was team rice and veg. Team seafood was out of the gate running with a quick assist from Denny Mike’s Fintastic seafood rub. This stuff is amazing. Full of lemon and garlic flavor. All natural and gluten free. Andrew rubbed a generous amount on the swordfish and it was ready for the grill. My kind of fast food. His technique for the scallops was even simpler–he just seasoned them with some black pepper and grilled them on a Himalayan salt block we received for Christmas
Team rice had a rough start, mainly because it turns out we ran out of regular rice. I suggested quinoa but Andrew turned his nose up at it. We dug around our pantry and found a bag of arborio rice. Our challenge suddenly became more interesting. Risotto.
“That’s crazy,” you’re thinking. “Risotto is complicated, time consuming, and fussy. You’ll miss Lost!” Risotto is one of those dishes that has a bad rap for being difficult, but as long as you have patience and a little time, it really isn’t hard to make.
To make the risotto, I started by sauteing some onions. Most receipes call for shallots, but this was a spontaneous risotto and I was lucky to have any sort of aromatic on hand.
Once the onions were soft, I added the arborio rice (a little shy of a cup–that was what was left in the bag) and sauteed it until the grains were translucent. At this point, I added some sliced mushrooms and a ladle full of the hot stock. You see, this is the key to risotto, and probably part of the reason why it has such a bad rap. You need to add the stock 1/2 a cup at a time and cook until it is absorbed by the rice, stirring occationally. Once the first 1/2 cup is absorbed, you add another and stir some more. And so on and so forth. It sounds like a lot but it really isn’t that bad. Grab a glass of wine, put on some music, and embrace the process. Trust me, it is not a bad way to spend a 30 minutes and can be quite soothing. If you want, you can add 1/2 a cup of white wine early in the cooking process in place of a 1/2 cup of stock. We happened to have a bottle open, so I did that.
Back to the rice. Keep adding stock until it is absorbed by the rice, then add more. Stir frequently. You’ll notice that the rice will start to get very creamy. The only way I know how to tell if the risotto is done is to taste a small bite. If the rice is crunchy, you need more time. If you run out of stock, heat up some more. This batch took me about 30 minutes.
Once the rice was cooked through, I added two ingrediants we almost always have on hand-frozen peas and jarred roasted red peppers. I also added a 1/2 cup of parmasean cheese.
I suggested we put the risotto on a bed of spinach to get some extra veggies, because that is how I roll. We also enjoyed a glass of Gruner Veltliner while we ate.
I’d be lying if I said we finished cooking in time for Lost. In reality, we finished around 9:15. I guess that is why we have DVR.