It’s Monday after Thanksgiving. The holiday is officially over. More or less. The leftover turkey – about a quarter-breast – was vacuum-sealed and frozen, along with an equal amount of smoked turkey breast and the last of the gravy. It will come out in the winter as a pot pie, of sorts. Waste not, want not.

And, as the holiday is officially over, we needed something for dinner that had nothing to do with the flavors of fall. As I was checking cabinets before my weekly shopping trek, I saw a box of Carnaroli rice. Risotto, it is!

Risotto is the perfect clean-out-the-refrigerator dish – absolutely anything can go into it and it’s always good. Since I’m in use-up mode, I pulled some lagostino out of the freezer, a leek and a small bulb of fennel from the ‘fridge. and 2 bottles of clam juice from the cupboard.

Dinner was set.

We spent the weekend decorating – what used to take one long day now takes three – and a simple dinner was really just what we were looking for.

It’s funny that 22 years ago we started early on Black Friday putting up the tree and decorating the entire house – inside, outside, floors, walls, ceiling, trees, bushes, plants – and just kept going until it was all done. Now it’s, Meh.. There’s always tomorrow. Is Jeopardy on, yet?!? Interesting how age and attitude dictates how things are done… The bulk of it still happens Friday, but we give ourselves the entire weekend to fine-tune everything.

And by Monday, it’s time to rejoin the human race and start eating things that don’t involve cranberry sauce.

The risotto really was simple – and really good.

Risotto with Lagostino

  • 1 cup arborio, carnaroli, or other risotto rice
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small bulb fennel
  • 12 oz lagostino, thawed, if frozen
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups clam broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • S&P, to taste

Chop leek and fennel. saute in a combination of butter and olive oil until wilted and starting to caramelize a bit. Add minced garlic.

Add 1 cup of rice and saute until the rice is translucent. Add 1 cup white wine and stir until most of it has been absorbed.

Heat the clam juice and water and add by half-cupfuls, stirring and waiting until it has been absorbed before adding the next.

When rice is just about done, stir in the lagostino and cook until done.

Stir in the cheese and the parsley. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as desired.

This is pretty much my basic risotto – the ingredients change to whatever is around the house, but the proportions pretty much remain constant.


Here’s a preview of the outside…