After mimicking the menus of pricey restaurants in Portland, we needed to cook some meals that were a little easier on the wallet. Since we cook so much, we have a small arsenal of spices and condiments and an assortment of grains. So I took stock of what we already had in our cupboards and garden and planned some tasty, cheap meals.
Since we had rice wrappers, thin rice noodles, fresh herbs, daikon and carrots we made Vietnamese Summer Rolls with a tangy soy dipping sauce from a Martha Stewart recipe. The Zucchini Pizza we made from the Moosewood New Classics cookbook is now one of our favorite easy summer meals. But my very favorite meal was a recipe also from the Moosewood New Classics cookbook for Red Risotto. It called for Arborio rice, stock, wine, tomato paste and radicchio, all things we has on hand. I ended up buying a can of small red beans, but that was a very economical addition.
Risotto is a comforting and creamy dish. With the red beans, it became even more filling and homey. Below is a link to a similar risotto recipe. To make it more closely resemble the Moosewood recipe, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste, a pinch of thyme and a can of rinsed and drained small red beans with the last ladleful of broth. The wine, slightly bitter radicchio and flavorful stock give this risotto a lot of depth. And the cheese and beans add a creamy softness. We’ll be making this risotto many more times.