Summer Eggplant Risotto

20140608-142105-51665329.jpgI poked around in the fridge for inspiration. Leftovers can always save time when you are hungry!

The other night, I diced an eggplant and sautéed it with some garlic, roughly chopped sweet onions, and a can of Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes. (They are my favorite!) I served that over pasta — but the kids didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did. I had about a cup and a half of that mixture left over and since it had sat for 2 days in the fridge, the flavors had intensified.

Over in the pantry was a bag of arborio rice (Italian short grain rice) and a container of chicken broth.  Why not put my leftovers into a risotto?  Certainly, people make risotto with eggplant all the time!

So, here’s what I did.

I took two tablespoons +/- olive oil and poured it into my big skillet set at medium high.

1 1/2 cups of arborio rice went right in the pan to toast up before cooking. (Browning the rice a bit gives your dish a nuttier taste.)

After about 5 minutes of “frying’ the rice I added about 1 cup of chicken broth and stirred it while it cooked. I lowered the heat to medium and over the next 20 minutes or so, I continued to add more broth (I used 32oz – 4 cups total) slowly, stirring as the rice absorbed the liquid. What you’re looking for is a creamy consistency — not the dry, white rice that you get in a Chinese restaurant! Keep in mind that risotto is supposed to be cooked “al dente” — which means that it is a little firm and chewy even though it is a very starchy, rice dish.

I added my left over eggplant/garlic/onion/tomato mixture right into the pan. Then I shaved parmesan cheese right into the rice, a few pinches of salt, and I stirred it together. All in all, it took about 25 minutes from the time I started until I was ready to eat. Not bad, eh? It was as good as it looks. And I have some left over — tomorrow, I can just add a little broth and zap it in the microwave.

Next time I make this, I want to add fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella right at the end.