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November 30, 2014

Risotto alla Milanese, stovetop or pressure cooker method {gluten-free}

Risotto alla Milanese, the ultimate classic risotto rich with saffron and cheese.

My love affair with risotto began with this saffron-tinged risotto alla Milanese, and now that I'm learning to make risotto in the pressure cooker, I'm more in love than ever before. There are only a handful of ingredients in this dish, so each one needs to be the very best you can find. Real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, good Italian arborio rice, pure saffron threads (expensive, but you only need a pinch), creamy butter, and broth that isn't too salty. When you're cooking with short-grain rices, note that the proportion of liquid to rice is approximately 4-to-1, compared to the 2-to-1 ratio for cooking long-grain white rice; however, in the pressure cooker, which retains more liquid in the cooking process, the proportion is slightly different. I've given you both methods, because I really want you to fall in love with this risotto, too. (And here's a tip for parents: when preparing this for your kids, call it "yellow cheesy rice." It works for us.)

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November 28, 2014

Spicy turkey, bell pepper and noodle stir-fry

Spicy turkey, bell pepper and noodle stir fry: make it with leftover turkey and lots of heat.

Two things about our typical Thanksgiving feast contribute to my craving for this particular way to use leftovers: the meal is overwhelmingly brown (turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing), and it's overwhelmingly family-friendly and spicy-free. So, after cooking and eating brown food for days, all I want is heat. Spicy heat. Chile pepper heat. And a little bit of bright color. Oh, and noodles. So easy to accomplish with leftover shredded turkey, dried noodles from the pantry, and a few other fridge bits.

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October 22, 2014

Traditional turkey meatloaf

Traditional turkey meatloaf with a ketchup glaze.

In the house where I grew up, my mother was a big-time name dropper when it came to what we ate. Our tuna was Bumble Bee, our bread was Wonder (yes, really), and our ketchup was Heinz. Always. And, though Wonder Bread is long gone from my pantry and I don't eat much canned tuna, I'm still a Heinz girl. When my husband Ted requested a turkey meatloaf, I considered many of the same flavor combinations I love in turkey meatballs, but in the end, I went traditional (almost) all the way, with ketchup as one of the primary seasonings. Any brand of ketchup will work; just make sure the one you choose is more tangy than sweet. Greek yogurt helps keep the meatloaf moist, and an egg holds it together. This turkey meatloaf passed the most important test; it sliced perfectly for sandwiches on the next day. Make it ahead and stash it in the freezer for a night when you don't have time to cook. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

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October 15, 2014

Slow cooker spicy shredded beef with soy, ginger and garlic

Spicy shredded beef with garlic and ginger makes a perfect rice bowl topping.

If there were a contest for Brisket Queen, I'd toss my tongs into the ring. I've shared so many beef brisket recipes with you, starting with my grandmother's brisket, barbecue brisket, Mediterranean brisket, apple cider brisket, hoisin brisket, Pakistani brisket, and Southwestern brisket, that I deserve the title and a sparkly little crown. Just when I thought I'd done it all, however, I remembered this spicy Asian brisket, with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and chili paste. I make it in the slow cooker, using my new method of cutting the meat into quarters and browning the edges (more pieces, more edges, more wonderful chewy bits when you shred the meat). This is a super-simple, slightly salty, slightly spicy brisket, perfect served on a rice bowl with any steamed vegetables. Crunchy snow peas provide a nice contrast; broccoli, bok choy, or green beans are good, too. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add a spoonful of brown sugar near the end of the cooking. There's sugar in dark soy sauce, and that's plenty for me, but you can (and should) adjust to your own taste.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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