Like I’ve said earlier, I usually try to make Friday night dinners a little different from the rest of the week. It’s nice because it gives me something to look forward to, and keeps us from ordering pizza or going out to dinner and spending lots of unnecessary money on things I can make at home. Case in point: risotto! A while ago, Brent and I went to one of the supposedly “nicer” restaurants downtown, and I had risotto as part of my meal. I think the chef was risotto obsessed, there was nearly one with every dish. Well…. mine was awful. No real nice way to say it. The texture was there, and it seemed technically prepared well, but the flavor combination was just so unappealing. The chef did prepare a new one for me at no cost, but the experience was definitely not worth the money.
So, a week or so ago when we were browsing cookbooks at the library, we found Jamie Oliver’s Italy. It looked interesting so we took it home and Brent picked a few recipes to try from it. One of the recipes he picked was Fennel Risotto with Ricotta and Dried Chilis. So, so good!!!
I had never made risotto before and I must admit that initially when we got home from work, my mind wandered to ordering a pizza. The risotto seemed kind of like hassle, maybe not difficult, but time consuming, and it certainly didn’t seem to allow for me wanting to sit on the couch and drink wine while dinner was cooking. However, I just decided to go with it, mostly so we wouldn’t waste the fennel in the refrigerator. I’d say the whole thing took about 45 minutes, and it was worth every minute! I think I will definitely be making some more risottos in the future. I’ve been thinking of possible flavor combos.
A few modifications were made in the interest of convenience and frugality. We used crumbled goat cheese in place of the crumbled ricotta because we already had some in the fridge. Also, I couldn’t find dried chilies at the store earlier this week, so I just gave up looking for them and we used some crushed red pepper flakes, ground to slightly smaller pieces in the spice grinder. Also, I used some homemade vegetable broth. Oh man, this was delicious!! What’s even more amazing is that this meal cost like $6 to make at home, and tastes a lot better than things that have cost five times that much.
FRIDAY NIGHT COCKTAIL
We made one of our favorites from the summer tonight for after dinner. Peach Mojitos!
We used thawed frozen peaches, since I assumed any peaches that could be purchased in Indiana right now wouldn’t taste so hot. It worked out really well and these taste as great as they did during the summer. Brent loves mojitos; they’re his favorite drink. I actually don’t like the original mojito, but I usually like them with fruit in them. Very refreshing, and now we’re lounging, watching Kung Fu Panda from the Red Box.
Thanksgiving is only a few days away!! I’m really looking forward to the holidays and hanging out with the family for a few days! I have finally gotten my family to realize how much better the homemade whole berry cranberry sauce is compared to that gelatinous canned stuff. I will be making that, and an appetizer my grandma really likes. Can’t wait!