With fall comes the rain and with the rain comes the need for comfort food. Of course, really I eat it all year long but now I have an excuse. From that came this warm and cozy vegetable risotto. It was an inspiration based on what was in my fridge but I will definitely make it again. The method of soaking the eggplant was new to me and really helped take away the bitterness.
1 Japanese eggplant, diced
1 bunch fresh spinach, well washed, roughly chopped
½ onion, diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine
chicken or vegetable stock
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 cup romano cheese, grated
1. Dice eggplant and soak in 4C water & 2 Tablespoon salt for 30 minutes. Drain really well.
2. In a large saute pan over medium high heat saute eggplant in 1/3C of oil. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Stir if necessary. You want to cook until tender – with a small dice and a Japanese eggplant it took about 5 minutes total. Allow to cool and set aside.
3. To begin the risotto saute the onion for 3 minutes in a pat of butter and 2T of olive oil. Add the carrot and celery and sauté until soft. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add the rice and saute for ~2 minutes stirring frequently. Add the cup of wine and cook until wine is cooked off stirring continuously.
4. Start adding broth ~1 1/2C at a time until most of the previous douse of broth is absorbed. Continue.
5. When the rice is almost done cook the spinach. In a sauté pan over medium heat saute the garlic slices in 3T of oil until slightly browned. Add spinach and a pinch of salt and cook for 3 minutes, stirring.
6. Fold eggplant and spinach into the risotto, Continue cooking until eggplant is hot. Fold in Romano and a pat of butter and stir until melted. Season and serve.[/print_this]