Solar Risotto with Radicchio

In the U.S. radicchio is mostly eaten raw in salads. In Italy it is usually cooked – either grilled or mixed into dishes like this risotto.

Sun Oven Risotto with Radicchio

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 small heads radicchio, cored and shredded

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Creamy Risotto with Turnips

The turnips and the arborio rice make this risotto creamy without adding a lot of fat. All risotto should be eaten immediately. For that reason solar cooked risotto is best for lunch. Make sure it’s a perfectly clear day. Even a small cloud means a longer cooking time and the texture of the risotto will suffer.

Ingredients

2 medium turnips, peeled and cubed (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 fresh sage leaves

1 cup arborio rice

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Easy Sun Oven Lunch

Sun Oven risotto is what I like to call a hybrid, half conventionally cooked and half solar. The broth is brought to a boil on the stove before being stirred into the sauteed rice and transferred to the Sun Oven. I think the texture is far superior when it’s prepared this way. Bringing any dish with a high liquid content to a boil first will cut down on the overall cooking time by up to 30 minutes. Something to keep in mind if you get a late start.

Risotto al Pomodoro (Tomato Risotto)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

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Raiding the Freezer for a Solar Lunch

Probably the biggest misconception I had about solar cooking in my pre-Sun Oven days was that all meals would have to be carefully planned in advance. It’s true that when you have a Sun Oven you’ll need to start thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner much earlier in the day (unless you’re like me and never really stop thinking about what’s for dinner) but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvisation. Our lunch today is a prefect example. Our schedule has been hectic the past few days and my fridge was practically empty. The freezer wasn’t much better. But I did find some frozen braised red cabbage, I had broth, rice, and Parmesan cheese. That spells risotto.

Risotto is actually a very easy thing to make, and Sun Oven risotto is even easier. The base recipe is the same: sauté onion in butter until soft, add rice and sauté for about a minute, add wine stir until evaporated, stir in cooked vegetables or other add-in, add very hot broth; stir well, cover and place in Sun Oven for 20 minutes. If it’s still too watery after 20 minutes continue cooking in Sun Oven for another 10 minutes. Remove pot from Sun Oven, stir in Parmesan cheese and any fresh herbs, serve. For one cup of dry rice you’ll need 1/4 to 1/2 cup wine and 3 cups broth and you’ll get 4 servings.

Today’s add-in was about 2 cups of braised cabbage, the risotto was good but probably would have been better with about 1/2 of cooked beans in addition to the cabbage. Other good add-ins are cooked squash, leftover minestrone, or asparagus.

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