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Arborio Rice with Roasted Eggplant, Spinach and Black Olives

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The last time I made risotto, I locked myself out of my apartment with the pot on the stove, and in a panic, I tried to break in through my fire escape. In January. In NYC. Wearing a t-shirt. It was a miracle I didn’t freeze to death or burn the building down. I haven’t even thought about cooking the stuff in the eight months since. 

Until a few nights ago, when I got it into my head that rice would be the perfect thing to go along with the eggplant and spinach from my CSA and the last remaining black olives that have been tucked into the back of my refrigerator for who even knows how long. 

All I had in the way of rice was that arborio from that fateful night. I assumed it was still okay to eat because I honestly cannot tell when rice is no longer good, I didn’t want to be bothered with yet another trip to the supermarket, and I figured the risk of botulism or some other stomach nastiness was small enough that I could risk it.

(Update: a few days later, I’m still standing.)

I cooked it just like I would normal rice, and I think I liked it even better than risotto. I don’t like tempting fate, so I stayed inside my apartment and very close to the kitchen, just in case. 

Ingredients (makes two servings)

  • one small- to medium-sized eggplant (about two cups chopped)
  • one medium onion
  • two cups of spinach leaves
  • one lemon
  • one cup of arborio rice
  • two cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of feta
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped black olives
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste

Roast the vegetables:

While the oven is preheating at 350 degrees, chop the eggplant and onion.   Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and roast on a baking sheet for forty minutes.

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Cook the rice:

While the vegetables are roasting, add the rice, water, one tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a pot. Cook with the lid on over medium heat for about ten minutes, until the water starts to boil.

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Lower heat, remove the lid, and cook for another fifteen to twenty minutes, until the rice is soft but not mushy and the water is fully absorbed.

Put everything together:

If you time things right, the vegetables should be done around the same time as the rice. Remove the vegetables from the oven and turn off the stove top.

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Add one tablespoon of olive oil, the juice from one lemon and the roasted vegetables to the rice and stir to combine. Chop the spinach and stir into the rice until it has wilted slightly.

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Cut the feta into cubes and add to the rice along with the chopped black olives. 

Stir until all of the flavors meld together and serve warm. 

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  1. feedurself posted this