Judicious (un)use of stock, or: Pragmatic Subversion


Just as I’m polishing a kickass post about chicken stock, Mark Bittman does one about a stock-less risotto, bless his minimalist/Minimalist heart.

The best part: that recipe is REAL. MB points out the refreshing (if obvious, though I’m not sure anyone was like, wailing it from the mountaintop before now) point that, if you’re already using substantial, flavorful items for the risotto– he uses a load of onions and some dried porcinis– those items build their own base in the simple process of getting cooked. Also, there is almost nothing I love more than a big pot of onions sauteeing & sizzling away, turning sweet and dark and a little goopy… so I suppose I just have to shut up and make this sometime very soon.

Just as well. I can save my chicken stock for stuff like what I made for lunch today (a classic example of shit from my fridge):

  • chicken sausage with roasted garlic, spinach, and fontina
  • that ricotta I made the other day
  • fresh spinach
  • some pesto I had just made (my basil plant was starting to feel the seasons change, and it showed. I harvested about 2/3 of the leaves to put it out of its misery)
  • some plain, cooked penne left over from making this last week

Since this particular (and most, I think) chicken sausage comes already cooked, I sauteed it for just a few minutes with some olive oil and beat it up a little in the pan to let some bits get nice and crispy. Then, deglazed with a substantial amount of chicken stock, since I also needed it to serve as my sauce/coating for the pasta and the cooking liquid for the spinach. Tossed in some ricotta and the pasta, let the liquid reduce a bit more, then turned off the heat. Put in a handful of spinach, stirred it into the mess. Walked away and watched 1/2 an episode of Flight of the Conchords (#6: Bowie. Faaaaavorite!). Came back, spinach was wilted nicely: still a bright green but cooked enough so that it clings to the pasta/sausage. Threw all that in a plastic container, put a few blobs of pesto on top, shook it around, put it in the fridge.

Today my boss– a fellow foodie whose fondness for wasting University time often surpasses even mine with talking about new restaurants and farmers markets and, more often than feels normal, roasted salmon– confessed sincere jealousy of my creation. Hm. Superior.

But freals. Upcoming post: chicken stock.


  1. but you can use your stock to make this tasty looking treat:


  2. ooooh gra i saw that. i was cautiously intrigued. but i guess now’s as good a time as any for zucchini & pears… the soup could be nice to freeze and then save for a sweet, warm surprise in the bleak midwinter.

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