Monday, March 18, 2013

Comfort in a Bowl: Cheesy Rice

The weather is nasty today. Well, as I write this, it's actually wound down quite a bit: the sun is peeking in and out of the clouds, the rain has stopped, the temperature is a whopping 40ºF. On the balance, though, still a nasty day. I left the house this morning (first day back from - ahem - Spring break) to find my car glazed in a (not too thick) layer of ice, and the sky's been blowing bone-chilling drizzle at me about 15mph ever since. When I got home, I knew what I had to do. Mission: Comfort Food.

Cheesy Rice

A nice bowl of cheesy rice really is comfort in a bowl. On top of that, it's simple and incredibly customizable. I can't even bring myself to write this as a recipe. I cooked up my rice, making sure it was a little on the damp side when done, then mixed in a few tablespoons of evaporated milk, and a half cup of finely grated pecorino romano. Since I knew this was going to be my dinner, I also added about 3/4 cup of frozen broccoli, just warmed through and chopped up. This works wonderfully with any grain, any cheese, any vegetable.

The evaporated milk is a deliberate choice, though. Many (most? all?) canned evaporated milks contains an ingredient called dipotassium phosphate, which is used to prevent coagulation in processing/storage/etc. It also makes for really awesome, creamy, smooth cheese sauces. If you've ever made a cheese sauce melting grated cheese into a bechamel, you've probably experienced that those sauces never have quite the mouthfeel of commercial sauces. Evaporated milk is a perfect substitute, and keeps this sauce smooth and creamy, without any melted cheese stickiness. Obviously if you don't have any, you can make this with regular milk instead - it'll be almost as good.

Keep warm, all. Indulge in a little comfort food.

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