The fat wasn't separting from my stock quickly enough for me to make the Chicken Barley Soup I had planned on for Sunday's lunch. So, instead, I knocked together this impromptu risotto from ingredients I had on hand. That's one of the things I love about risotto. If you have some aromatic vegetables, arborio rice, a bit of fat, and a bit of flavorful liquid (wine or, in today's case, some rich, homemade stock), you have a one-dish dinner at your fingertips!
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 c. arborio rice
3/4 c. very rich chicken stock (not broth), hot
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 c. hot water
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 to 3/4 c. shredded chicken
salt and pepper
1/3 c. pesto
Heat butter and olive oil in large saucepan. Add onion and celery and cook until translucent. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute, until translucent. Add stock and stir until absorbed. Add tomatoes and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add hot water in three additions, each time stirring until liquid has been absorbed. Stir in mozzarella and chicken until cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a large dollop of pesto on top to stir in.
Note that this recipe can be altered with a wide variety of ingredients--whatever you have on hand--so long as you first sautee the vegetables and aromomatics in fat, then add the rice and coat with fat, and slowly add the proper proportion of liquid (here we use 3 cups liquid to 1 c. rice). If you like risotto, it's always a wise idea to have a supply of arborio in the pantry.