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Adventures in leftovers: Faux risotto

FauxrisottoPerhaps it was due to the thick, chunky tortillas. Or perhaps we just bought too much seafood. At any rate, we were left with a nice collection of grilled shrimp and scallops from the weekend’s taco adventure. What to do, what to do.

As I’ve said before, we are masters of leftovers. Italian cooking makes that easy — there’s pretty much nothing you can’t throw in a pasta or slap on a pizza. After toying around with the options, and considering what we had in the pantry, I fell back on one of my staple recipes, faux risotto.

I love risotto, but the difference between an OK risotto and a truly euphoria-inducing one is far more art than science. I’m of the lazy and imprecise ilk, so I prefer to use pasta, which is far more forgiving. I used orzo, which technically makes this an orzotto, nothing faux about it. But I sometimes use the smaller riso pasta, which would make it … risotto. Sort of. Whatever. Anyway, using the pasta instead of rice makes for a nice, silky texture that will not turn to glue as easily.

This is another one of those non-recipes. There’s nothing precise about it — you just kind of go with the flow. But an approximation of the recipe follows after the jump.

Faux risotto (orzotto) with saffron and seafood
1 c. orzo or riso pasta
2 c. water or chicken stock
1/4 c. white wine (optional)
several threads saffron
1 bay leaf
pinch of herbes de Provence
1/2 onion, finely minced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 c. frozen peas
1 c. mixed cooked shrimp and scallops, cut into 1/2" pieces

In a small saucepan, bring water or stock to a simmer, add saffron threads, bay leaf and herbes de Provence. Season broth well — if you don’t salt the broth adequately, it will never make it into the final product.

In a non-stick skillet, saute onions in a small amount of olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant. Add the orzo and toss until covered with oil, cook just a minute or so. Add wine (if using) and cook until almost completely evaporated. Add the broth one ladelful at a time, cooking again until nearly dry each time, stirring constantly. Continue in this fashion until the orzo is tender, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat, add peas and seafood until heated through. Add butter and gently fold in. Serve immediately.

Note: If your seafood is raw, just add it about 5 minutes before the end to cook through.

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