The next day I turned the ample leftovers into big juicy burgers, which we ate on buns with tomatoes and lettuce. If I’d had an avocado, I would have sliced that to go along with it.
Here’s a playlist of work songs for labor day.
3 T butter
1 onion, very finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t oregano
5 sage leaves chopped
1 jalapeño minced
2 small zucchini – grated
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 or 6 cups broth (see below)
1 cup corn – fresh or frozen
Big handful cilantro, chopped
Small handful basil, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkinseeds, toasted
1 cup grated sharp cheddar or jack cheese
3 large tortillas
2 T olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic Smashed
1 carrot, Roughly chopped
3 or 4 mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
a few sage leaves
Red pepper flakes
1/2 t marmite
1/2 can roasted diced tomatoes
handful of french lentils, or lentil-cooking broth
salt and pepper
Make the broth earlier in the day. Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, red pepper flakes and mushrooms. Cook till they start to sizzle and brown, then add the carrot, celery, cilantro stems, parsley, sage leaves, lentils and marmite. Cook till they’re warmed through and sizzly. Add the cumin, paprika and about five cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for at least half an hour, but longer is better. You’re going to want it to be warm when you make the risotto. I didn’t drain it, I just put the broth through the strainer over the risotto as I went along, cause I’m lazy like that.
When you’re ready to make the risotto, have the broth warm.
In a large, fairly deep skillet over medium heat, warm the butter. Add the onion, and cook till it’s wilted – five minutes maybe. Add the garlic, oregano, sage, and jalapeno. Cook till the garlic starts to brown. Add the zucchini, and cook till it’s dried out and starting to brown, and the bottom of the pan has nice caramelly brown stuff sticking to it. Add the rice and cook for a minute or two.
Then add the wine, and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan for all the juicy bits. When the wine is thick and syrupy, add one cup of broth. Stir well, and cook till the broth is absorbed. It should take about five minutes. Keep adding broth, about 3/4 cups at a time, about five more times. Wait each time till the broth is absorbed, which should take about five minutes. So the whole process should take 25 – 30 minutes. The fourth time you add broth, add the corn as well. The last time you add broth, if you like your risotto quite runny, add a whole cup of broth. Taste the rice – it should be soft but al dente. When it’s done to your liking, and the risotto is just as wet or dry as you like it, take it off the heat. Stir in the basil and cilantro and season with salt and pepper.
MEANWHILE…Cut the tortillas into strips about 1 inch wide. Coat each side with olive oil, and toast or broil until brown and crispy, turning once. Let them cool on a drying rack.
Serve the risotto topped with a small handful of toasted pumpkinseeds and a few tortilla strips.
To turn your leftover risotto into burgers… Mix 3 cups of the leftover risotto (it should be fairly dry – warm it up in a frying pan if it’s too runny) with two pieces of brown bread, ground into crumbs, 1 egg, 1/2 t smoked paprika, and 1/2 t cumin. Mix well. Form into burger-sized patties, and fry in a skillet in olive oil or butter till browned and crispy on both sides. Add a thin slice of cheddar or jack cheese, if you like.
Serve with lettuce, tomato, and avocado if you like.