Cooking the Magazines: Cantaloupe Risotto
Oh hey there! It’s been… um … a month? I guess I should post some big ol’ thing about why I’ve been gone but, really, no one wants to hear all that. There was stuff. And it happened. And now it’s August somehow!
Oh, I did score a new cat! Or a new cat scored me! Or something!
Actually, she’s Dorian’s real-life sister. Yup, sister. As in from-the-same-cat-mom-womb-and-then-abandoned-on-my-mom’s-front-porch-the-rest-is-history sister. My mother took one of the kittens (Nabi) and I took one of the kittens (Dorian) five fateful years ago and now that my mother can’t take care of her, Nabi is now part of our household.
Let’s just say there are a lot of baby gates involved. And fur in patches on the floor. We’re working on getting everyone to at least tolerate each other. So much for them being sisters. Maybe that’s why they hate each other so much? They must be like, “bitch, we got rid of each other five years ago, wtf!”
What I do know is that this cantaloupe risotto is the bomb. The bomb! And that’s saying something coming from me, a perennial hater of all things melon.
See, I somehow managed to get a $5 subscription to Bon Appetit–something that one doesn’t turn a nose up at–and, while they publish far too often for me to keep up with them, I do love flipping through the pages and picking out recipes I Must Make (but never will). This cantaloupe risotto was one of them. Because, you know, I hate cantaloupe, so that makes sense?
No, but I figured that if you cook cantaloupe, maybe it changes. Maybe some magic happens. Maybe, even if you don’t add the prosciutto, it’ll turn out beyond savory fantastic.
And it did. In fact, the cantaloupe itself is pretty muted, just a mellow, floral hint in the savory risotto. I don’t really get it. I used a 2 lb cantaloupe to make this dish, you would think it be super cantaloupey. But it isn’t, so that’s probably why I like it. A hint of sweetness in a main dish, a lot of summer goodness with the basil. It’s a strange yet beautiful summer dinner and one that I never thought would have worked.
So thanks Bon Appetit! Maybe I should actually make more of those recipes of yours I keep bookmarking. And maybe I’ll remember to update the blog on a semi-regular basis! Somehow it is almost fall and apparently school already started in Georgia, so it’s like a new year, right? Time to turn over a new leaf or something. Whatever the case, it feels good to be back, melon recipe and all.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
6 c vegetable broth
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
flesh from a 2 lb cantaloupe
2 c arborrio rice
1 c dry white wine
Basil, thinly sliced for garnish
Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer.
In a 5 quart saute pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the shallots soften. Add the garlic and cantaloupe and cook 10-12 minutes, until the cantaloupe juice has cooked off some and the mixture is the consistency of a thick soup.
Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the arborrio rice along with the wine. Cook 3-5 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add broth by the ladelful, cooking the rice down until the liquid is almost fully absorbed. Continue until you have no more broth and the rice is cooked through. (YOu may need to add more broth or white wine to get the rice cooked completely). You want the risotto to be creamy, not gummed together. The entire cooking time may take 30-45 minutes.
Garnish with basil.