Recipe: Risotto Resztki (Leftovers)

Reposing on another of my Polish plates, Risotto is a soothing comfort food, both in the making and the eating. Photo courtesy Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Risotto is an Italian rice dish, but I’m an American of proud Polish background. What I create will no doubt cause a true Italian, and probably a Pole from the Old Country, to cringe, but oh well.

If I stuck to the ethnic food of the land of my birth, we’d be eating Big Macs.

“Resztki” means leftovers in Polish, and no, I have no more idea of how to pronounce this than I do the last names of most of my cousins, but if you click on this link and hit the Listen icon on the bottom right, you can announce tonight’s dinner to your family with confidence and Polish aplomb.

Maybe you’re out of turkey stock; I’m not. What really made this leftovers for me was the short-grain Arborio rice, which is readily available in larger groceries. My own supply of the stuff was down to one cup, and for a reason I refuse to try to comprehend, some member of the family needed the plastic container in which the rice reposed. So they poured what was left into a bowl and stuck it on the counter, where it stared at me, challenging me to do something with it.

So I did, and so you can do. This dish is creamy, dreamy, flavorful, and smooth. Like most of my recipes, it’s customizable to what is in your cupboard and refrigerator, so don’t pass this up if you truly are out of turkey stock.

Oh, and by the way, Risotto isn’t fast food — mine took 45 minutes, with much attention to stirring. Use this as a time to think, reflect, meditate, or pray; the process of stirring lends itself

What makes this world so interesting are all the people God has made, and the food and cultures they have developed. Mesa Walk, original oil painting by Steve Henderson sold; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas and Light in the Box.

to these activities.

Recipe: Risotto Resztki — serves two hungry people, three mildly so; feel free to double the recipe


1/3 cup olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1/2 head garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 cup Arborio Rice (My original comment about rice, printed below in the answer to eko_hunter’s comment, was incorrect, and I apologize. GMO rice is not presently approved for human consumption, but research is being made to make it so. With the lack of labeling on products, combined with the rapidity of approval for GMO products — it is estimated that 60 to 70 percent of products on supermarket shelves contain GMOs — I choose to go organic as often as I can, for as long as the term remains pure.)

1 teaspoon salt

1 handful fresh herbs, minced, or 2 teaspoons dried (I used a combination of sage and rosemary, still alive in the kitchen garden)

4 cups turkey or chicken broth, hot (if you don’t have broth on hand, use bouillon)

1/2 cup grated cheese (tradition dictates Parmesan or Romano, but I used homemade goat cheddar. Use what you have. Skip it if you don’t eat cheese.)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in 4-6 quart pan. Add the onion and garlic; saute gently for 10 minutes (this is a good time to wash the dishes, if they have piled up during the day). Add the celery and carrots, and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring now and then.

Stir in the rice and coat with the oil mixture. I stirred for three minutes or so, just to expose the rice to the hot oil and give it an idea of what was ahead.

Setting the timer for 30 minutes, add the hot turkey broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring until it is largely absorbed before adding another 1/2 cup. If you do this at a quiet, gentle pace, you’ll need the half hour. Toward the end, the rice gets much larger and softer, and the broth wraps itself around the grains like a cream. Don’t panic or freak out — what you’re mainly looking for is the rice to be done — chewy yet not mushy — and it’s really hard to go wrong. You may not need all four cups — I did, because my rice was a bit . . . old. Stop when you feel that the texture of the rice is where you want it, and add as much broth as you want for the texture of the final dish.

In the last five minutes, add the minced herbs. Just before taking the dish off of the heat, mix in the cheese. Stir for 30 seconds to a minute, take the pan off the stove, and cover. Let sit five minutes, then serve in bowls (if it’s soupy) or in deep plates (if it’s firmer, as mine was).

If you have the freedom to learn, research, look things up on the Internet, question, and speak out — use it. Learning to cook is a first step to broadening our world. Golden Sea, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; open edition licensed print at Great Big Canvas.

As the Polish say, Smacznego.

Cooking for yourself is one of the first and easiest way to becoming more independent — both in thought and deed — and it is vital in this country that we wake up and take control of our lives. If you haven’t noticed, there are people and entities out there who would be delighted to tell us what to do and how to live, and they are well on their way to doing so.

Tuesdays, I write about recipes using good, simple ingredients. Please join me.

If you are interested in spiritual matters, I invite you to join me, as well, at my site Commonsense Christianity at BeliefNet, where my primary message to Christians is to wake up, maintain a strong relationship with God, think for themselves, and speak out against what is wrong. I feel fairly strongly about this, and if you agree with me and like what you read, please pass me on. As an ordinary person, I am not privy to the financial and media advantages enjoyed by others.

If you are interested in saving money, I invite you to look at my book Live Happily on Less, a series of friendly essays that will guide you into a different way of thinking that will help you survive economically tough times. (Paperback and digital at Amazon; also available for borrowing through Amazon Prime.)

This article is linked to Nourishing Joy, Natural Living Mama, A Blossoming Life, The Prairie Homestead, Mama Diane, Moms the Word, The Chicken Chick, My Joy Filled Life, Alderberry Hill, A Mamas Story, Memories by the Mile, Teaching What Is Good, Growing HomeIntentionally Domestic, Little House in the Suburbs, The Jenny Evolution, Our Heritage of Health, A Peek into My Paradise, Essential Things, Food Renegade,


2 Responses

  1. eko_hunter

    Can you tell me more about the “rice is one of the grains that is heavily genetically modified”? What modifications did they do to the poor rice?

    1. eko_hunter — you ask a good question, and in researching the answer, I come up with something extremely difficult, but necessary, to say: I was wrong. GMO rice is not yet approved for human consumption, although products are in the making for this to be done in the future. Given that soybean, corn, and canola — major staple crops — are already genetically modified, rice cannot be far behind. But it isn’t there yet, and I unwittingly provided misinformation, for which I apologize.

      I have amended the information in the recipe, and I post the original information, so that both of our comments will make sense:

      (rice is one of the grains that is heavily genetically modified, and GMO products are ones I don’t like to feed my family. Because the companies that promote GMOs fight so hard to prevent labeling laws that would require manufacturers to let consumers know just what is in their food, it’s difficult to identify whether a product uses GMOs or not. In the absence of this assurance, I — the consumer, who makes the final choice of what is accepted into my home — look for organic products. At the moment — and this isn’t guaranteed forever — the label “organic” means that product is GMO-free.)

      GMOs are an extremely controversial subject, and it is important that people know, and understand, what is going on. I regret my lapse of complete research, and thank you for calling me on it. — Carolyn

Comments are closed.