Saffron Risotto with White-Wine Clams and Peas

7 Nov

You know those (more than one) opened half-full bags of brown rice you have no idea when you bought, but you refuse to get rid of them because “brown rice is good for you, you guys” and so you move with them multiple times. Multiple times. No? Well then, this rice is freshly harvested from the…paddy?

As I mentioned before, I MAY or may not have a lot of brown rice I don’t make good use of (and bulgur wheat as well. Why, why would I have a lot of bulgur wheat? I’ve made things with bulgur wheat about 4 times in the past 3 years, and apparently I bought a BRAND NEW bag each time because sliding the cans over 3.4 inches to the right was too much of challenge for me, so there goes another $3.99!) so I’ve decided to seek out some brown rice recipes. I made a really great brown rice chicken and apricot stew earlier, but I completely forgot to take pictures (way to go, blog comeback) so let’s pretend this is the first and only brown rice venture I’ve made this week! Good? Great.

I’ve selected a recipe from the tried and true Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck. I fall in love with this book all over again each time I make a recipe. Quinoa, Oat Berries, Brown Rice, BULGUR; there have been so many new grains, and I can finally fit in at the People’s Food Co-Op bulk section. Normally a “can I help you find anything ma’am?” is met with a “oh no thank you, I’ve found the chocolate covered {anything}, and I intend to shamefully eat all of it before I reach my car.” And no, it was never a vegan chocolate. But now, I can hold my head up and say “now, there’s the quinoa, am I just not seeing the RED quinoa?” (by the way, red quinoa is WAAY more expensive than normal quinoa, and tastes about the same, without the cool red color).

Back to the recipe.

I was drawn to Saffron Risotto with White-Wine Clams and Peas because, hi, how could you not be? I have some saffron I got in Spain last January, which I was thrilled about, yet feel like I can never use it because it’s Saffron from Spain, which makes it fancy and exotic, and Saffron is supposedly so expensive (I’m pretty sure the Saffron I have isn’t 100% real, and it doesn’t beak my heart, the price was right, and I had a traveler’s culinary shopping high). But then again, here I am 10 months after my trip to Spain with nary a thread of Saffron used, so the time had come.

In the pot everyone is equal: peasant onions with royal saffron. Look how well they play together.

While you’re par cooking the brown rice (meaning you cook it until it’s ALMOST done, then you finish it in the dish), and cooking up the onions and saffron, you’re supposed to prepare the fresh clams. Well, I opted for a different type of clam.

When I was younger we used to add these to our spaghetti sauce and it was delightful.

So naturally everytime I read a line about preparing the clams, I thought to myself “oh yes, I’ll prepare the clams, the CAN of clams” (aaaaand villain laugh).

Once you add the par boiled rice to the saffron party, it’s white wine time. Well, it so happens I had less than 25% of the white wine I needed, so I grabbed a close second: red wine. As I was pouring it in, I felt like I was breaking a culinary rule, like how real beer drinkers never drink beer out of a frosted glass, but if my brown rice baby needs wine, by god, he’ll have it! Flavor-wise I don’t think it made a big difference since it was cooked down so much, and because the rice was brown, the color didn’t change much either.

Once the rice is prepared (chicken stock and a lot of stirring) it’s time for the FROZEN peas. I know, cans of clams, possibly fake Saffron, frozen peas, red wine; what’s next?! But the recipe actually called for frozen peas, which is just fine with me since now I have something to put on a shiner (read: black eye) in case the need arises.

Check out those frosty peas

The peas get a little stir, the clams get added along with some parmesan, butter, salt, and pepper, and boom, it’s risotto time.

That pea looks MASSIVE

As I mentioned before, I love this book, and I really liked this dish. It lasted for about 4 meals (2 for me and 2 for John, although John’s 1 meal is about 1.83 of my meals, so really it lasted 5.66 meals).

Man those plate/bowls make everything look fancier!

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