I think I’ve mentioned it before, but Duff cooks dinner for us every Friday. I’m a big fan of some Duff cookin’ and I honestly think he’s better in the kitchen than I am, so I wanted to do something to highlight some of his weekly concoctions and share them with you. I figured what better than a weekly segment on the blog — “Dude Cooks Friday!”

This week’s recipe isn’t a Friday night recipe, but it’s what I had for lunch today (Friday) so I’m going to run with it. It’s a very delicious, easy dish that Duff is calling Fridge Cleanout/Stuff We Had Risotto. 

dani + duff - Fridge Cleanout Risotto

I took this picture on a whim during a lunch break — I promise it is 1000x better than it looks!

Last weekend was incredibly busy for me, so I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store or prepare food for the week.  It made for a rough start to the work week, and both of us were throwing together unusual combinations of foods from the pantry and refrigerator for our meals. One great thing about that is we actually had a lot of vegetables to use, so this particular dish uses ingredients from our balcony garden and a local organic farm, but it would work well with whatever you need to clear out.

I guess Duff was feeling extra inspired or hungry (could it be that maybe he was even feeling a little sweet?) when he got home at 2:30 a.m. in the middle of the week because I had this waiting for me when I left for work that morning…

dani + duff - Fridge Cleanout Risotto

It’s common to hear that risotto is a fancy pain in the neck to cook, or that it takes forever to make, or that you have to have a lot of skill to do it. All of those statements are incorrect. Risotto is super simple; it just requires more hands-on time than other grains because it’s best when it’s given time to fully absorb all the wonderful flavors you want to infuse into it. I think I read somewhere that once you’re cooking, risotto shouldn’t take more than 19 minutes on the stove. (Duff’s takes a little longer because he had to cook down hearty carrots). That sounds pretty quick and easy to me!

Unfortunately, I won’t have step-by-step pictures for most of these “Dude Cooks Friday” posts because I’m usually still at work during the majority of Duff’s Friday cooking. And I was obviously sleeping for this one. I can share recipes, though, and I can promise you they will be worth replicating.

Fridge Cleanout Risotto
Serves 4
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 6 cups vegetable broth
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 3 celery stalks, diced
  5. 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  6. 1 banana pepper, diced
  7. 1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  8. 1/2 cup white cooking wine
  9. 1 cup cheese (Duff says he used "parm and some other stuff")
  10. Salt and pepper
  11. Crushed red pepper flakes
  1. In a stockpot or large saucepan, begin to heat 6 cups of vegetable broth over low-medium heat. Allow to heat while preparing the vegetables and rice.
  2. On a separate burner, melt butter in a stockpot over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic, celery, carrots, and pepper to the pot and sauté for about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pot and toast it for 2 minutes. (Smell the delicious!)
  5. Pour in the cooking wine.
  6. Slowly add the warm vegetable broth to the rice, 1 ladle or cupful at a time. Allow each batch of liquid to be fully absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladle or cupful.*
  7. Continue adding the broth until it is no longer being absorbed, or until it has all been used. The rice should be al dente. This process usually takes 10-15 minutes.
  8. When the rice has finished cooking, stir in the cheese. Add in the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.
  1. *Slowly adding the liquid allows the starch in the rice to breakdown and create a thickened, delicious sauce of the broth and other liquids.
  2. Following the same guidelines, this would work well with basically any produce you need to clear out of your refrigerator before it spoils.
dani + duff http://www.daniandduff.com/

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