Every good meal has a story that goes with it. Don’t you think? I happen to believe that to be true at least! For me, it doesn’t have to be an epic story with a funny twist ending. There doesn’t have to be a lot of flash and pizzazz involved. The story behind my grilled pizza isn’t so much about this particular recipe, but about pizza itself.
If you asked us right now what our favorite “go-to” weekend meal to make together happens to be, Justin and I would probably both tell you it’s pizza. But not just any old carry out pizza…homemade pizza. And this wasn’t always the case. I’ve always loved pizza, but it became our “thing” once Justin and I got together. I liked that we could customize it, it wasn’t too difficult to throw together, and it tasted so much better when it was fresh. We began having pizza probably about once a week it seemed. It just so happens that Justin admitted he barely ever ate pizza before I came around. Talk about a big switch: from little to no pizza in his life to it being pretty much a staple in our weekly menu! It’s a good thing he likes it, because I don’t plan on stopping my pizza creations any time soon. So many options…
On a regular weeknight, I tend to create meals just for two. I’ve become rather adept at making dishes that will feed us for one night…sometimes two if there are some leftovers. I know people love creating enormous dishes that can be eaten for days or frozen, but for some reason I don’t get into that on the regular.
Today is not a regular day though. I brought home the ingredients for this lasagna and intended for it to fit inside a small 9×9″ lasagna pan. Oops. As I began to chop, saute, and prepare the pasta, it became clear I would require a 9″x13″ for the massive amount of fixings I had. No worries though: pasta leftovers are always delicious…I didn’t mind…
…even though this lasagna was intended for just two of us. I’m not going to lie – the pan seemed to weigh about 20 pounds, and we were eating leftovers for at least four days afterward. Perhaps I should have invited some friends over to share this dish with; there was definitely enough to feed a crowd.
Today, I check off an item from my cooking bucket list. And I get to indulge…because today is “Fat Sunday” with the Sunday Supper crew! Today was the perfect excuse to dive into a dish that I normally wouldn’t prepare at home (I am a stickler for eating healthy in my own kitchen; when we go out to dinner I tend to do my “cheating” there!).
I have always enjoyed arancini when I’ve ordered them at restaurants, but I’ve never attempted to make them in my own kitchen. Until now. I have set out to accomplish this task in the past when I’ve created risotto dishes…but somehow my guests have always managed to eat the entire pot. Or I haven’t been able to show restraint and have eaten any leftovers before frying them up into arancini. I’m weak…so weak when it comes to risotto!
But the last time I made pancetta and mushroom risotto, I purposely made a double batch so I would have leftovers. And these little fried beauties were the end result. They went over so well with Justin (and me too)! If you haven’t enjoyed an arancini before, let me tell you about them. They are balls of risotto (usually leftovers) that are rolled in breadcrumbs and fried. The end result is a crispy crunchy exterior, with a creamy, rich interior. You can eat them as-is, or you can dip them in sauce.
A little over a year ago, homemade risotto came into my life. I had always enjoyed it, but had not delved into creating the dish in my own kitchen. Annnnnd now that I’ve started, I have not looked back. It’s been full throttle forward since making that first spinach and artichoke risotto.
Now that I have the basic method down to a science (relatively), my mind wants to come up with the best combinations of flavors to add to the rice. I’ve used Fabio Viviani’s spinach and artichoke risotto as the base (since it works so well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!), and tweaked the ingredients. Of the variations I’ve created, there is definitely one that has stood out lately: a risotto with pancetta and mushrooms. I’ve made it at home…I’ve made it for family at Christmas…I’ve made it for out of town guests. It’s pretty much a crowd pleaser.