Grilled Summertime Veggies with Risotto

I know, I know, I just posted an article about fall soups…but when I got home last night, I realized I had a lot of veggies in the refrigerator along with some beautiful eggplant in the garden. What better way to serve them than to grill them up? I decided to serve the veggies with risotto, but I’m sure they would have tasted just as good with some quinoa, brown rice or even pasta – I just wanted the risotto :).

When we were getting our kitchen renovated a few years ago, our contractor asked us if we really needed to have a six burner stove in the kitchen.  I should send him this picture, because five out of the six were going as I grilled up the last of the veggies and tofu (Hodo Soy, of course), sauteed sweet baby broccoli, kept the vegetable stock warm and cooked the risotto.  I love six burner stoves!

Because this was a last minute decision for dinner, I realized I didn’t have much to marinade the vegetables with. I usually have a bottle of Organic Italian Volcano Lemon Juice (courtesy of Costco) in the refrigerator, but I had used up the last of it making some green tea lemonade.  I ended up using some of the “juice” from a jar of green olives mixed with some olive oil, spicy mustard and red chili flakes to marinade the tofu and coat the veggies and it turned out great!

I grilled the veggies dry and once they were almost cooked, dunked them into the marinade and then returned them to the grill to keep warm.  This method worked well because I didn’t have to marinade the veggies in advance.

For the risotto, I made a quick stock out of dried chili peppers, carrots and celery – it didn’t have very long to simmer, but enough to provide an extra level of flavour. I sauteed up one red onion in some butter until it was well cooked and then added in the arborio rice, giving it all a good stir until the rice looked slightly toasted. Then came the exciting part of adding stock and stirring – I’m not quite sure if I follow all the rules here, but I usually just add 2 to 3 cups of the stock right away and let it simmer until absorbed and then follow up with one ladle of stock at a time and stirring and repeating until the rice is cooked. I topped it off with some shredded parmesan. This was probably not quite a traditional risotto, but who cares! It tasted good and I received a perfect compliment during dinner – “Why do we go out for dinner when we visit here?”.

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