McDonough knows a thing or two about coaxing a meal out of a small city pantry. The editor of TheCityCook.com has a new cookbook, The City Cook: Big City, Small Kitchen. Limitless Ingredients, No Time. Here she offers an idea for when the weather makes ingredients limited.
By Kate McDonough
it Snowmageddon or just an old fashioned Nor'easter, a sudden winter
storm can complicate making dinner if you didn't have time to buy
groceries. Yet, is there another time when having supper simmering on
the stove is more appealing then when "baby it's cold outside"?
if your kitchen is tiny, a strategically stocked cabinet, refrigerator
and freezer can mean having satisfying and special meals even if you're
snowed in or the temperatures are too low to venture out.
This recipe for tomato risotto uses canned San Marzano tomatoes plus
other pantry-friendly ingredients as Arborio rice, grated Parmesan
cheese, garlic, onions and boxed stock to make a satisfying and big
flavored dish that can be the main event or a side with fish or roast
This recipe uses the typical risotto cooking method
of adding hot stock gradually to Arborio rice, stirring continuously.
By cooking half the tomatoes with the rice from the start adds depth and
complexity and adding the rest of the tomatoes toward the end preserves
their bright flavor.
serves 6 as a side dish or 4 as a main course
cups canned San Marzano tomatoes with their juice, from a 28- or
34-ounce can (discard any basil leaves that may be in the can)
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Divide the tomatoes and juice into 2 equal portions.
a saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a low simmer and keep it at this
temperature; you want the stock to be hot but not boiling when you add
it to the rice.
In a large sauté pan or skillet, warm the olive
oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion
and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Be patient with
this step because you don't want to brown the onion. Add the garlic and
cook until soft and just golden, about 3 to 5 minutes.
rice and cook, stirring, until the rice is coated with the hot olive oil
and butter and becomes opaque, about 3 minutes. You'll know it's ready
when the rice sounds "dry" when you stir it. Raise the heat to
medium-high, add the wine, and cook, stirring, until the wine is
Add one soup ladle of hot chicken stock (about 1 cup)
and stir until completely absorbed. Add half of the tomatoes — about 3
to 4 whole tomatoes — crushing them with your hands as you add them to
the pan. Also add half the juice and stir until the juice is absorbed
and the tomatoes begin to break up. Return to adding the hot stock, a
cup at a time, stirring until absorbed, until nearly all the stock has
been added and the rice is almost tooth tender. This will take about 15
minutes. Keep the heat at medium-high and stir continuously.
the rice is too firm, add any remaining tomato juice and chicken stock,
1/2 cup at a time, stirring after every addition. If you have used all
the tomato juice and chicken stock, use hot water. Cook until the rice
is tender but still firm.
When the rice is tender to the bite,
crush the remaining tomatoes with your hands, add to the rice, and stir
to combine. Taste for salt and also for doneness.
Remove from the heat and stir in the grated Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe from The City Cook: Big City, Small Kitchen. Limitless Ingredients, No Time. Published by Simon & Schuster. Copyright © 2010 by Kate McDonough.