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Author Notes: As a vegetarian, it's always tricky to find main dishes that will keep the interest of my omnivorous friends. This summer risotto always fits the bill, and costs less than a latte to boot. Because the lemon, mint, and feta are added at the end, each mouthful yields a slightly different combination of flavors. Simple, elegant, delicious, and blissfully cheap - food like this is why I love cooking.
Please note that this makes two modest servings. To fill out dinner, throw some cherry tomatoes onto the grill, make a nice salad, and be certain to bring wine. It's also easily doubled and retains it's cheapness nicely! —sandal
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 cup peas (fresh is better, frozen's fine)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- zest of one lemon
- black pepper to taste
- 6 mint leaves, chiffonade
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Saute uncooked rice in olive oil over medium heat until absorbed.
- Add 1 cup of warm stock to the rice. Stir as needed to prevent the rice from sticking - you'll have time to prepare your chiffonade of mint and/or zest the lemon while you're letting the rice cook down. Stir more frequently as the liquid cooks off.
- When the rice is nearly dry, repeat step two. Continue until a taste test yields rice that is chewable, but sticks to your teeth. Keep in mind that you will probably only need three cups of broth - but far better to have too much than too little on hand.
- Add your peas and cook for one or two minutes more (longer if using frozen). Season to taste - salt if necessary, and be generous with the black pepper.
- When both peas and rice are done and seem to be bathed in a creamy sauce, remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest. Follow with the feta cheese. Add the mint chiffonade just before serving.
- Are you a thrifty person who's worried about what to do with the lemon and the fact that you picked too much mint? Muddle the mint and lemon juice with some sugar and add some vodka and a little seltzer. Sip quietly in the kitchen and don't tell your guests.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner