We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of these may be affiliate based, meaning we earn small commissions (at no additional cost to you) if items are purchased. Here is more about what we do.
We keep a small, white two-shelf bookcase in our dining room that I bought almost 10 years ago at a thrift store in Illinois. It was green when I bought it and cost $20, and painting it white was probably the first home/decorating-type project I ever tried.
For a long while after I painted it, sitting on newspapers in my parents’ basement, it stayed down there, surrounded by my mom’s collection of artificial flowers and cabinets of Christmas decorations. It didn’t have a place.
But then three years ago when I moved to Nashville, that cabinet came out of hiding and became the home of all my cookbooks, like it was the thing it was always meant to do, and now it is a continually curated collection of our cookbooks—curated because they barely fit in the case and we’re always deciding which ones should be moved or given away to make room for others.
We had family in town this weekend, and Saturday night standing near the table filled with cream puffs and doughnuts, my sister-in-law asked me which cookbooks I’ve been enjoying most lately. One of the first ones I talked about was Love Your Leftovers.
Written by Nick Evans of Macheesmo, a site I’ve been following for more than five years, Love Your Leftovers wows me for a few reasons. First, it’s a brilliant concept. There are 14 staple recipes (i.e., roast chicken, baked potatoes, homemade bread, beef stock), each with a series of variations on that theme.
The idea is that you do one big prep recipe, like make a bunch of baked potatoes one night, and then use that prep work to make meals all week, like a spinach potato casserole or weeknight gnocchi.
Second, it’s super inspiring. Whether you use the book to actually plan your weekly menus, as the last chapter of the book demonstrates, or you use the book to drum up new ideas for a fridge full of leftovers, it provides fresh inspiration whenever you need it.
When we came home from Florida with a bag full of purple potatoes, it was almost mindless to bake them and use them for gnocchi the next day.
After Tim’s family left from this weekend’s visit, it was so simple to pull out the beef broth we made last week and use it in risotto tonight.
Because we’re such fans of Nick’s book and because we think some of you will be excited about it too. For more information on the book, check it out on Amazon here.
The Night Before:
- 1.5 cups arborio rice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
To Make the Risotto:
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups beef stock
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
- 1.25 pounds fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup diced white onion (from about 1/2 large or 1 medium onion)
- 1/2 cup white wine or lager
- 1/2 cup shredded Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
- Chopped parsley (or basil), to garnish
The night before making the risotto:
- Place arborio rice in a bowl, cover with water, and add apple cider vinegar. Cover with a paper towel and let sit at room temperature overnight.
To make the risotto:
- Strain and rinse the rice. In a large stockpot over medium heat, combine water and beef stock, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Set a large skillet on another burner and melt two tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat. Once hot, add mushrooms and cook until slightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms to a bowl.
- Add onions to the pan the mushrooms were in, adding another tablespoon of coconut oil if the pan is dry, and cook until the onions start to soften.
- Add rice to the pan and toast for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine or beer, letting it deglaze the pan of anything stuck to the skillet. Once the liquids have evaporated, it’s time to start adding from the pot of beef stock.
- Add 3/4 cups of beef stock at a time, stirring the mixture frequently while the stock evaporates. As soon as the pan is dry, add stock; repeat this process until the rice is cooked through but still has a slight bite. Nick says this should take about 6 to 8 cups of stock and around 30 to 40 minutes total. You know the risotto is done by tasting it. Once the rice has the right texture (soft but not mushy), you can stop adding liquids and add the prepared mushrooms. Cook for another few minutes until everything is well combined, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve risotto warm, with Pecorino and chopped herbs (parsley or basil) to garnish. Enjoy!
Adapted from Nick Evans’s brilliant new book, Love Your Leftovers: Through Savvy Meal Planning Turn Classic Main Dishes into More than 100 Delicious Recipes.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.