Tomato and pine-nut risotto

Among the many delicious options for enriching the basic risotto recipe, tomatoes are a classic choice, and pine nuts round out their taste just perfectly. With its built-in portion of vegetables, this risotto can easily stand on its own as a dinner meal, but also works nicely as a sophisticated side dish.

Source improved on public domain Difficulty easy Time 35 min Serves 2 as a main dish, 3–4 as a side dish

Tomato and pine-nut risotto.

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Milchriis: Swiss-style comfort food

Rich and soul-warming, milk rice (or Milchriis in Schwiizertüütsch, pronounced [ˈmilχˌriːs]) is a traditional Swiss dinner with a high addiction potential. We rarely go ten days without cooking it.

For some reason, however, it is highly polarizing — people either love it or hate it. Most likely, the main reason for the latter demography is simply the astounding proliferation of bad recipes. In the wrong hands, milk rice ends up bland and unsatisfying, and no amount of vanilla will change that. The secret to good milk rice is as simple as it is effective: Salt, very little sugar, and most importantly, lemon zest.

Of course, some people just dislike sweetish dinners for reasons unfathomable. If you are one of those, perhaps you can try this recipe as part of a Sunday brunch instead.

Source family recipe plus some subtle improvement of our own Difficulty trivial Time 25 min Serves 2

Milchriis with applesauce and lemon tea… mmm. ;o)

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Prosecco and shallot risotto

An incredibly versatile dish, risotto bears an undeserved reputation of being challenging to cook. Admittedly, it can go wrong more easily than macaroni and cheese, but that can be avoided with just a bit of preparation and diligence. Although commonly used as a mere side dish, this «plain» risotto may well eclipse whatever fancy main course you’re inflicting it upon. Risotto can also be turned into a complete dinner with the inclusion of a few vegetables and herbs — in fact, I have a few particularly good combinations lined up for future posts —, but here I’ll concentrate on perfecting it in its purest form.

Source public domain plus some improvements Difficulty way easier than its reputation, but does demand your full attention for a while Time 30 min Serves 3–4 as a side dish; 2 as a main dish with some salad or vegetables on the side

Prosecco and shallot risotto…  sorry for the bad photo, I was too hungry to do better. I’ll try again next time.  ;o)

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Red lentil dal

Here’s one of our all-time favorites: healthy, satisfying, chock-full of complex warming flavors, this Indian-style spicy lentil stew has proven an effective antidote against Dutch weather. Its stress-free preparation makes it an ideal way of unwinding after day’s work.

Source improvement over a recipe from Vegetarisch Kochen Difficulty trivial Time 20 min for preparation; ~20 min for simmering Serves 2

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Red lentil dal with basmati rice, here further served with homemade paratha bread and mint-coriander chutney (not included in this recipe).

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Summer couscous

This light yet satisfyingly filling dish really shines on swelteringly hot summer days where the mere thought of eating is exhausting, but makes a refreshing and healthy lunch all year round. It can be prepared in large quantities with negligible effort and feels at home in tupperware, which makes it an ideal bring-along dish for a grill party.

Source improved upon various public sources Difficulty trivial Time 30 min for preparation; benefits from an hour or two of soaking in the fridge Serves 2, but can easily be scaled to fill a large salad bowl

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It’s never too hot for a bowl of summer couscous!

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