Archive for Recipes: Savory

Risotto Milanese {Vegan option}

Winter has landed in Vancouver. As I type this, snowflakes are falling outside my window, and the city has come to a standstill. It’s a snow day in Vancouver, the schools are all closed (including BCIT), and many businesses will not bother to open today. 

I’m grateful I stocked up on soup and snacks and veg yesterday before all this madness happened, as I will not be going anywhere today on my very bald tires. 

I will be snuggling in bed with the cat and thinking warm thoughts and drinking lots of tea. 

With this cold snap, I’m craving simple comfort foods…Cacio e Pepe, a super simple pasta dish made with simply pepper and cheese, for example, I can’t seem to get enough of. Risotto Milanese Vegan

And risotto in a warm, sunny colour. I make risotto a lot, it’s filling and comforting, and is a basic pantry staple, as there’s never a time when I don’t have arborio, stock, wine, onions, garlic and cheese. 

The twist on this particular risotto is that it’s made with saffron. I went through a bit of a Persian cooking obsession last year when I discovered Bottom of the Pot. Saffron is a staple of Persian cooking, but you may not know it’s also one of the most expensive spices in the world. Saffron

You see, each thread of saffron is the pistil of a crocus, and needs to be harvested carefully by hand. A lot of work goes into making saffron, so its end cost is pricey. Thankfully, I live in a town with a big Persian and middle-eastern population, so finding it at a reasonable price is pretty easy to do. 

I thought I’d make something with my saffron supply, and decided risotto milanese was the way to go. It’s a simple twist on risotto that produces a beautiful, warm, yellow-coloured dish that will warm you up from the inside. 

I topped mine with some mushrooms I fried up in olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Yay dinner! Risotto Milanese

Risotto Milanese 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3/4 cup aborio rice
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 4-6 cups vegetable stock
  • a large pinch of saffron threads 
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional, or vegan parm)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method: 

  1. In a saucepan, heat the vegetable stock to boiling. Once it’s come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt, stir to coat in the oil, and allow to cook until translucent. You may want to reduce the heat a little if you see the edges  of the onions picking up some caramelization. Once the onions are softened, add the garlic and stir until fragrant. 
  3. Add the rice and stir everything together until the rice is coated in the oil and onions and garlic. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add in the pinch of saffron. 
  4. Add a ladle or two of stock to the pan, and allow it to come to a boil. Stir the risotto fairly continuously, adding another ladle of stock as needed. Continue doing this until the rice is cooked and the risotto looks saucy. You’ll need to keep tasting it to check for the doneness of the rice. 
  5. Add the final pat of vegan butter, and the cheese if you’re using it, stir well, and remove from the heat. Test for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Place a lid on and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. 

Beetza (Beet Pizza)

You maybe hate beets. That’s okay. Beets are a pretty polarizing vegetable. Many people think they taste like dirt. 

But like many other vegetables (oh hi brussels sprouts), a lot of the way they taste is in how you treat them. 

Brussels sprouts caramelized at high heat in hot oil are delicious. Boil them for 40 minutes until they are a sickly greenish-grey? Yeah, they’re terrible. 

a pizza topped with beet slices, blue cheese and greens

Same with beets. They’re not great boiled, but roasted, they come alive and the natural sugars actually make them quite tasty and sweet. 

So beets on a pizza. Weird? Perhaps. But don’t knock it till you try it. 

I’ve been using my new Breville Smart Oven Air almost constantly these last few months since I got it around my birthday. It’s been great. There are just two of us, so it’s been really useful to not have to turn on the big oven for most things. I think I’ve only used my oven a few times since I got it. 

One of the settings on the Breville Smart Oven Air is pizza. We are very seldom without frozen pizza in our freezer. It’s just an easy option for nights when we are super busy, or if it’s the weekend and I don’t feel much like cooking. Sometimes I buy the plain cheese ones from Costco, and sometimes I make my own

This particular combo is brought to you by the letter “B.” When I first started thinking about putting beets on pizza, I thought, what kind of cheese would go well with that? And the answer, of course, was blue. Beets, blue cheese… finished with the beet greens… what could be a more fall pizza than that? 

I realize this won’t appeal to everyone. And that’s okay. But also, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It’s actually really, really good. 

via GIPHY

Beetza (Beet Pizza)

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe your favourite pizza dough (I’m currently using the @foodgays from their cookbook, Cooking in Color) or your favourite store-bought pizza crust
  • 1 medium-large beet
  • tomato sauce or pizza sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese 
  • beet greens or arugula
  • olive oil
  • balsamic reduction

Method

  1. Wash the beet well and cut into really thin slices using a knife or a mandolin. Brush the slices with oil on both sides and sprinkle with pepper. Place on a cookie sheet and roast in a hot oven (400-425) until crispy on the edges (I did this step on the airfryer mode of my Breville Smart Oven Air). Remove and place to the side. 
  2. Roll out or stretch your pizza dough to the right size to fit your pan. Before placing the dough on the pan, brush the pan with a little olive oil and sprinkle some cornmeal down to keep it from sticking and to help give a crispier crust. 
  3. Place the dough on the pan and stretch it to fit. 
  4. Place a few tablespoons (up to 1/4 cup) of tomato sauce on the dough and spread it evenly. 
  5. Sprinkle the dough with a fine layer of parmesan cheese. 
  6. Place the roasted beet chips on the pizza, then crumble and scatter about the blue cheese. 
  7. Bake pizza in a pre-heated hot oven (425) for about 9-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden. 
  8. Remove from oven and garnish with clean, chopped beet greens or arugula, a drizzle of fresh olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction (if you wish). 
  9. Serve immediately. 
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