risotto post paella

Risotto is a great recipe category because its basic approach accommodates an infinite number of variations, sort of like paella in Spain where everybody seems to have their own favorite version of the internationally famous dish. In the wake of a recent reawakening (oops, wake wake, poor style) of our limited paella making experience (we've got the pan!), several convenient leftover vegetables were available while saffron was still on our minds. (We'd used too little in our getting reacquainted experiment.) So it seemed natural to create something less ambitious as a risotto for two, which also has a well known affiliation with saffron (alla milanese).

It was the usual story. Weekday after work. No animal protein on hand, vegetables and carbs will have to do. Half a bunch of asparagus is the starting ingredient suggesting the risotto route. And the fresh peas from a local farmer's market. Both from our paella experiment. Then a lonely medium sized zucchini (we'd used tiny 4 inch baby zucchini with attached flowers in the paella). A few leftover big white mushrooms. And a great 30 minute meal is the outcome.


2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 c arborio rice
flavor add-ins
1 zucchini (small to medium)
2 big white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb thin asparagus, cut in thirds
1/2 c fresh peas
1 t veggie broth paste
2 12.5g packages saffron
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c parmigiano
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper and parmigiano on each serving


  1. Start 4 cups of water boiling in a teapot.
  2. Do the onion, zucchini, mushroom, and asparagus prep work.
  3. Sauté the onion a bit and then add in the mushrooms and zucchini and continue until they are also softened.
  4. Stir in the rice and cook a minute, mixing it up. A hit of white wine is an option here, evaporate it off another minute.
  5. Throw in the first 3/4 c or so of boiling water (guess), stir in the veggie broth paste, saffron, salt and pepper and continue doing the risotto thing, adding additional boiling water as needed in hits of about a half cup.
  6. Ten minutes after starting the rice add in the remaining veggies and continue for about another 8 minutes (don't time it), testing the grains of rice for al dente but not chewy consistency, making sure the rice is not too dry but still flowing (more so than less since the cheese hit and subsequent delay until serving will tighten it up a bit).
  7. When declared ready, turn off the heat and mix in the cheese and parsley. Serve.


  1. We are big fans of the Food Network's Rachel Ray who has two cooking shows by the numbers: 30 Minute Meals and Forty Dollars a Day.
  2. Illustration available. Looks pretty good. Tasted that way too.
rstpplla.htm: 18-aug-2006 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]