6 ways to turn leftovers into risotto

I hate waste. It probably has something (a lot) to do with spending every school holidays with my grandparents, who carefully rinsed and dried all their plastic bags to reuse, limited everyone to three squares of toilet paper and doggedly ate shrivelled fruit and veggies waaaaaay past their prime.

Oh, and being forced to finish everything on my plate by my parents because of the starving Biafrans.

So all leftovers in the Household are dutifully packed up and put in the fridge, then taken as lunch for work or become the makings of another dish, usually pasta or risotto.

People always moan about risotto being too hard to make but it’s really easy peasy. You just pour and stir and pour and stir … until the rice is cooked.

I promise, that’s it.

I love it. It’s also a great way to use up leftovers from the fridge. Here are some of my creations.

Recipe: Mexican-style risotto with pulled pork

Even writing the name of the recipe felt like a crime against food, but I had lots of leftover ingredients in the fridge post a Mexican-themed afternoon drinks at my place, and I felt like risotto, so I thought bugger it, I’m going cross cultural …

mexican risotto

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small green capsicum, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup tequila
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup mild salsa
  • 1 tsp of chilli powder of choice (I used chipotle)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 250g pkt pulled pork
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add rice, chilli, tomato and capsicum and stir until the rice is glossy. Add tequila, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. Before final cup of stock, stir in salsa and pulled pork. When rice is tender, stir in coriander and tasty cheese. Serve.

Recipe: Pumpkin, spinach & goat’s cheese risotto

image (22)

Leftover roast pumpkin, cut into chunks

olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre chicken stock

150g baby spinach leaves

50g goat’s cheese

2 tablespoons toasted pinenuts

1 tablespoon finely chopped sage

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add rice, stirring until glossy. Add white wine, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When rice is just tender, stir in baby spinach leaves until just wilted. Stir in goat’s cheese. Gently toss in roast pumpkin, pinenuts and sage. Serve.

RECIPE: Pumpkin & pesto risotto

I’ve been coming up with lots of creative ways to use basil now that I have a herb patch in my new house. This is one of them.

pumpkin-pesto-risotto

Leftover roast pumpkin, cut into chunks

olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre chicken stock

Few handfuls of of basil

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1/3 cup olive oil

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add rice, stirring until glossy. Add white wine, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When rice is just tender, stir in roast pumpkin and pesto (made by chucking basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil in a food processor). Warm through. Serve.

RECIPE: Pulled pork, pumpkin and leek risotto

In a moment of empty pantry panic I was forced to open a packet of pulled pork to feed the dogs for dinner. This is what I did with the rest and some leftover pumpkin and a wilted leek I  had in the fridge …

pulled-pork-risotto

olive oil

1 leek, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre chicken stock

Leftover roast pumpkin, cut into chunks

250g pulled pork

1/2 cup parmesan

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute leek and garlic until soft.  Add rice, stirring until glossy. Add white wine, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When rice is just tender, stir in roast pumpkin and pulled pork. Warm through. Stir through parmesan. Serve.

Recipe: Leftover roast risotto

roast-risotto

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • Leftover roast beef and roast veggies, diced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • Grated parmesan, to serve

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add rice, stirring until glossy. Add white wine, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When rice is just al dente, stir in leftover roast beef and veggies. Heat until warmed through, stir through 1/2 cup parmesan, then sprinkle with extra parmesan and serve.

RECIPE: Bolognaise risotto

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 onion, finely diced

Generous splash of olive oil

2 cups of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

1 litre of chicken stock

2 cups of leftover spaghetti bolognaise mince

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

METHOD: Saute the garlic and onion in olive oil in a heavy-based pan until softened. Add arborio rice and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the white wine. Stir until almost evaporated. Add the chicken stock in ladlefuls, waiting until each one is almost absorbed before adding another. If you run out of stock and the rice is still a bit firm, add a little water. When the rice is just al dente, mix in the leftover spag bol mince and let heat through for a minute. Stir in the parmesan and serve.

Are you revolted by leftovers or do you love eating reheated suburban Chinese food for breakfast as much as I do? 

Song of the day: Oliver “Food Glorious Food”

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5 thoughts on “6 ways to turn leftovers into risotto

  1. Our favourite Chinese restaurant makes the BEST steamed dim sims. I always order more than we’re going to eat, so I can have them for breakfast the next day – and lunch too if I beat everyone else to them!

  2. I plan for leftovers as part of my weekly meals. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I cook. Thursday is dinner at Mum’s and Friday is leftover night. And woe-betide anyone who eats what I’d planned to eat. Their life will not be worth living .

  3. I’ve never seen the word Biafran in print before. I heard it enough when I sat at the dinner table sneaking my boiled choko to the dog underneath the table (who also rejected it). My grandparents parented through the depression and were also very frugal, not that you can blame them. They made things called Fatty Scones which were basically cooked fat with golden syrup. Good to see you’re carrying on the tradition Alana (but much more tastefully).

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