Risotto with Caramalized Onions and Rosemary

OK—last year January and February led us through the Soup Challenge.   Now be prepared for the 2012 Clean Out.  (And no, we are not doing a cleanse.)

Whether you call it the cupboard, the pantry, or the larder, I am on a binge.   Again, I have too much stuff.


Oh, Eden Organic beans are on sale?   Load me up.

Italian Risotto for sale at T.J. Maxx?   I am buying four boxes.

What about all the tomatoes, salsa, and jam I canned this summer?   Have I done anything with all this bounty?

That would be a “No.”

And for heaven’s sake, keep me away from the “fill-your-own-bag-bulk-aisle” at Whole Foods.

My pantry is atrocious.

There is actually a box of industrial-size plastic wrap in this pantry that we bought when we moved in THIRTEEN YEARS AGO!

So, I did not go to the grocery store all last weekend and we did not starve to death.   Until we get the pantry and freezer cleaned out, I am only buying staples at the grocery store.   (And, I hit a sale on sugar pre-Christmas, so I still have four bags in the pantry.   That should do.)

What can we buy?

  • Milk (What is the deal?   There were only two bottles of organic milk in the case the last time I shopped and they were near expired.)
  • Eggs (We can still get these at our Winter Market which is every other week.)
  • Juice (It sounds like all we do is breakfasts, doesn’t it?)
  • A few fresh fruits and veggies when needed.

Seriously, I think that is it.   (Besides the pantry, we are cleaning out the chest freezer and side-by-side freezer.  There may be a lot of dishes and recipes in the future  that will be un-blog-worthy.)

So using up a bag of onions, the previously mentioned T.J. Maxx arborio rice, and some veggie stock, I made dinner tonight.  Maybe this Clean Out won’t be too bad after all.

Risotto with Caramelized Onions and Rosemary
Inspired by Joshua Wesson’s Caramelized-Onion Risotto with Bacon

4 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)
1/4 c. white wine
2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. arborio rice
2 t. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large skillet, heat 3 T. of the olive oil.  Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 5  minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and browned, about 20 minutes.   Add white wine and stir to deglaze pan.  Set aside.

Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan.  (I used vegetable stock because that is what was in the pantry.)   Cover and keep hot over low heat.   Heat the remaining 1 T. of olive oil in the large saucepan.   Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.   Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.   Add enough hot stock to cover the rice, about 1 1/2 cups, and stir constantly over moderate heat until the stock has been absorbed.   Continue adding stock, about 1 1/2 cups at a time, and cook, stirring, until it has been completely absorbed before adding more.   The rice is done when the grains are just tender and the sauce is creamy, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the onions, rosemary and 1/2 cup of Parmesan.   Season with salt and pepper.   May add additional Parmesan before serving to garnish.

Risotto with lots of rosemary.

Although this risotto was quite creamy as we were eating it, I snapped this pic after dinner when it had cooled off.  It looks lots less creamy in this photo.

I had just snipped some rosemary to send to my sister in the NORTH country where it is 10 degrees or something like that.   I thought it would make a good photo op for the risotto.

We have lots of this leftover so I am going to dig in the bottom of the freezer for some chicken to grill to go on top for other suppers this week.   Tonight we had it with a green salad (thanks to the hoop house) with tomatoes (thanks to the green house).

Fresh salad in winter.

Note:   I am still looking for some frozen chicken but I did find some grilled pork loin in the side-by-side.   This was delicious with the rosemary and onion flavors of the risotto.   (Maybe I will find the chicken for tomorrow night’s meal.)


Keep up with our Clean Out:

18 comments to Risotto with Caramalized Onions and Rosemary

  • Ann

    What a challenge! You’re going to save a ton and it’s always nice to clean out on a regular basis! I bulk purchase my meats, but they are very carefully labeled and rotated…my pantry is fairly organized, but there are a few things that slip through the cracks!

    • Eliot

      You sound very organized. I actually bought a small dry-erase board and had it stuck to the top of our chest freezer and I would write down what I had stored away. Then, I could mark off what I had used and always knew what was on hand. That lasted for about three months! (I have to get more dedicated and committed to things!) Again, thank you for your comments.

  • Liz

    Great idea!!!! And if this lovely risotto is a result, you’ll do just fine!

    • Eliot

      Thanks, Liz. I do have four boxes of arborio rice! Lost of risotto in our future (but that is fine with me)!

  • Your pantry is a disaster! Thanks for making me feel better about my own (which isn’t much better…just smaller). I am in the same process with my freezer, I have to use stuff in there fast since I just ordered a 1/2 hog! Sometimes I think the best recipe inspirations come from the “must use” category (for me it’s usually some veg or fruit that is on it’s last leg). I’m excited to see what you come up with, especially if they are as tempting as risotto and bacon!

    • Eliot

      Thanks for confirming that my pantry is BAD! And, glad I could make you feel better about yours. That’s what I’m here for.
      I will definitely add the bacon next time.
      Don’t hold your breath; there may be some disasters ahead. 🙂

  • ‘My pantry is atrocious’ – you kill me Eliot 😉 I’m not sure mine would qualify as neat either – lol. This risotto looks fantastic… love the combination of parm and rosemary and the caramelized onions? Yes please! Yum.

    • Eliot

      Thanks, Kelly. I really liked using the veggie stock. I wish I had more. I guess I will have to use what is on hand. I have lots of beef stock in the pantry so I think some stew will be next.

  • Great recipe — the risotto looks so creamy!

    I try to clean out our pantry at least twice a year. Since my daughter left for college I find myself cooking less and I have to remind myself that I need to use what I have before buying more, because things don’t get used up as fast as they used to.

  • My pantry is a bit obscene as well. This is such a lovely dish–great job raiding the pantry and using your rosemary. I’ve never made a risotto b/c I tend to save the more labor intensive time in the kitchen for desserts, but I’m going to be (trying to) swearing off sugar so maybe that will free up some time for risotto. I hope so, because it sounds so good!

  • This looks amazing and delicious – coming from someone who does not like risotto one bit!
    I think you have officially converted me 😉

    Choc Chip Uru

  • I adore risotto (you should read my ode to it when you get a chance because there is a great recipe). This recipe looks delish. If only a certain someone hadn’t killed my rosemary plant while I was in NYC. And if you lived anywhere closer I would come right over and organize your pantry. Back in the day, I used to be a professional organizer and I LOVE to create harmony out of chaos like this!! Bring it on sister! I participated in an Eat from the Pantry challenge last year? and it was easier than I thought. I guess I’m a little bit of a stockpiler too.

    I gotta go search what kind of jam you made this summer along with your salsa.

    • Eliot

      I will gladly trade you rosemary for your organizational skills! I guess we are lucky. Our rosemary has been around since we moved into the house (about 14 years) so I think it would take a lot to kill it now.

  • yum, this looks delicious…we love caramelized onions and rosemary!