That's the daily dreaded question Mike & I discuss each day via e-mail while we're at work. Don't get me wrong, I adore cooking & it's a complete stress reliever for me. However, at the end of a long day, the last thing I feel like doing is running to the grocery store for odd-ball ingredients, cooking & the dreaded post-dinner clean-up.
I recently started taping the Rachael Ray show again (thanks for reminding me, Lauren!) I used to tape it everyday but was forced to take a hiatus when I got pregnant & the sight of food made me run to the bathroom to vomit! Since I don't exactly have 45 minutes to watch the show each day, I end up fast-forwarding to the cooking segment at the end of the show for dinner ideas. As I watched a couple of weeks ago, Rachael was making risotto, an Italian rice dish, & asked the audience for a show of hands for who has made it before. When very few people raised their hands, Rachael made a point of saying that risotto was one of those foods that people are unnecessarily intimidated by. It also dawned on me that I've never made it for that very reason. Also, if you're a fan of Hell's Kitchen, you'll know that the risotto tends to get the chefs in quite a pickle when Chef Ramsey angrily slams a pan full of poorly cooked/seasoned risotto into the trash.
Well, I'm always up for something new, so I decided to make Rachael's "Tastes-Like-Spaghetti, Mini-Meatball Risotto" & it was absolutely delicious. The one challenging thing about risotto is the fact that you have to gradually add a heated liquid, constantly stir the rice, let it absorb & continue to add more until the rice is cooked through. It basically takes about 18-20 minutes from the moment you start adding the liquid to the rice. I guess there are different rice varieties that can be used, but I use Arborio rice which is readily available in any grocery store. Rice used to make risotto is much starchier than long-grain rice which is what gives the dish such a creamy texture without adding any cream.
So, if you're looking for a tasty dinner idea & have never made risotto before, give it a try! Mike & Cameron absolutely loved this dish & I'm sure you & your family will too!
I didn't get a picture of the Tastes-Like-Spaghetti risotto, but here's a picture of a pumpkin risotto I made the day after Halloween (I used chicken broth in place of the bouillon).