I told you a week or so ago (okay, it could have been last year, I have no idea) that I had become intrigued by the fact that people the world over eat some form of porridge and that they have it for lunch and dinner. Let me tell you what time of year is a good time for porridge for lunch and dinner – the time where it’s starting to give you lots of reason to believe that this winter may just well be as cold as the last, when leaves are crunching under foot (and blasting by in 40 mph gusts), and you’re digging in your sock drawer for that special pair you actually slip over other socks when things are really bad (just me?). I am a fan, a convert, and a chilly advocate of savory porridge.
Our last porridge attempt was polenta, because I knew the mediterranean leaning would make it more approachable for my crew. This time I decided to go a little more full-on porridge by using oats. In this preparation an ‘oats risotto.’ Let me confess right here that pretty much anything with ‘risotto’ in the title will get my interest, add oats to it and I’m downright intrigued. This particular oats risotto had mushrooms, walnuts and leeks. The original recipe can be found on this little treasure trove for those trying to increase their plant-based intake (or decrease their other), Meatless Monday.
I pretty much followed the recipe here (I’m a little concerned about how often I’m saying this lately, maybe I should see a doctor or something), although I did leave out the squash because it can be a game ender and I wanted the young people to at least give it a chance. To restore the veggie balance, I served on raw spinach. It was delicious. Now, I will say up front that this is not risotto in the traditional Italian sense of being super creamy because it contains, well, cream and or cheese or other dairy. It was, however, tender, soft, delicious and easy to prepare. Warm, hearty, bursting with that woodsy savory flavor that mushrooms can bring. As for the fresh basil garnish they suggest, I had some homemade pesto on hand… The only thing I found difficult about this recipe is that as written it is very difficult to tell how long it will take to make this oats risotto.
My total time was about 45 minutes, but I would attribute about 5 minutes to my re-reading the recipe a few times to understand it, as I didn’t really do that before (ahem), and answering approximately 17,000 questions posed by my twins during dinner prep. The risotto cooking part (which is to say after I’d sautéed the veggies) was about a half an hour. Not super fast, but definitely doable, especially if you’re not a numbskull and try to understand what you’re doing BEFORE you are actually doing it… PSA #4005.
The verdict? This awesomely comforting dish earned a hearty 75% approval rating. This is a very positive number for my house (don’t judge, sometimes you just have to lower the bar). My take: Oats, They’re Not Just for Breakfast Anymore.
And just for fun, some Halloween food porn…
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