Risotto is always a delicious option for dinner, but for those times when you have nothing to flavor your risotto with, look in the salad bin of your refrigerator and make a great risotto with your salad greens. Lettuce is recommended in this recipe, but another great, economical version is with the tougher outer leaves of any salad green you have in the refrigerator. Use the tender, heart part of the greens to toss a green salad that you can serve alongside the risotto. You will have a balanced and delicious meal, and you will have found a use for everything, wasting nothing. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I use every morsel of food. I hate waste.
- 7 cups or more hot Chicken Stock, preferably homemade (see here)
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped leek, white and light green parts only
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 ounces outer lettuce leaves (romaine, Bibb, etc.), shredded
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- ½ cup grated Grana Padano
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, and season with salt. Heat the olive oil in a large, shallow, straight sided pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and leek, sauté for 1 minute, then ladle in ½ cup hot stock to soften the vegetables.
Cook until the vegetables are tender and stock has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high.
Add the rice all at once, and stir continuously until the grains are toasted but not colored, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, and cook until the liquid is almost absorbed.
Add the shredded lettuce, and cook until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle in about 2 cups of the stock, stir, and cook until almost absorbed, about 5 minutes. Ladle in 1 more cup of the stock, and again simmer until the liquid is almost absorbed. Continue cooking and adding stock in this manner until the rice is cooked al dente but still with texture, about 15 to 20 minutes in all.
When the risotto is creamy, turn off the heat. Beat in the butter, stir in the cheese, season with salt if necessary, and serve.