This post is produced in partnership with Le Creuset Canada.
When Le Creuset Canada asked me if I’d be interested in checking out some of their stainless steel line, I might just have done a little happy dance. I mean, how beautiful are those pieces? Billed as pieces “for the serious cook”, they offer
- a three-layer construction made (a stainless steel interior and exterior and an aluminum core)
- hollow handles which minimize heat transfer making them easy to hold onto even without a cloth
- “Precision Pour Rims” which allow for dripless pouring directly from the pans
- a lighter weight than cast iron cookware which makes them so much easier to handle (and haul out of top kitchen cupboards!)
For my first post, I chose a piece I’ve been eyeing for a while – the Saucier – Chef’s Pan which sounded like the all-round saucepan I’ve been looking for.
A saucier pan, also called a chef’s pan, is designed with a rounded bottom and curved walls to keep ingredients moving. The flared sides facilitate easy whisking and stirring. It is particularly suited to dishes that involve constant stirring and complex flavours, such as sauces, risottos and custards. The addition of a Helper Handle (3.3L size) makes lifting easy when transferring a full pan and the ergonomic stay-cool handle makes maneuvering easy.
“Constant stirring”, you say? I knew exactly what I wanted to make for my first dish in this gorgeous piece – risotto. Now many of you might be thinking that there are easier ways to make risotto than stand and stir a pot for 30 minutes (oven-baked risotto is something I like to make from time to time and I hear the new electric pressure cookers do a mean risotto too). But to me, there’s nothing more soothing than stirring a pot of risotto (and in the big scheme of things, 30 minutes is nothing, right?) – it’s a chance to slow down after a busy day and maybe even enjoy a glass of wine while you cook. What could be more relaxing?
The rounded walls of the pot made stirring risotto a breeze (and cleanup was really easy too). As I was stirring, I thought that caramel and custards would surely benefit from this even heat and easy stirring surface so they’re next on my list. As a nod to Le Creuset’s origins, I topped my risotto with some rustic ratatouille that I’d had roasting as I was making the risotto. So, not a “quick” meal (though it’s ready in around an hour) but a soothing one which will bring a little sunshine to your grey wintery table…
Simple risotto topped with rustic oven-baked ratatouille.
For the ratatouille
- 1 medium (250 g) bell pepper
- 1 medium (170 g) green zucchini
- 1 medium (170 g) yellow zucchini
- 2 x small (250g total) eggplant
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the risotto
- 1 tablespoon oilve oil
- 1 tablepoon unsalted butter
- 1 small (150g) onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (215g) arborio rice
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine
- 5 cups (1.25L) vegetable stock
- Zest of 1 lemon (approx 1 tablespoon)
- 1 cup (50g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare your ratatouille:
Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper or prepare a large ceramic baking dish.
Chop the pepper, zucchini and eggplant into 1cm cubes.
Place the vegetables in a large bowl with the tomatoes and garlic and toss with the oil, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper, making sure the vegetables are evenly coated.
Spread the vegetables in an even layer on the baking tray or in the dish and cook for 35 minutes, mixing them occasionally to ensure they are evenly browned.
Set aside until you are ready to use (do not refrigerate unless you are not using them until the next day).
Make the risotto:
Heat the vegetable stock over medium-high heat until it’s just simmering. Reduce the heat to low.
In the Le Creuset Saucier, heat the olive oil and butter and over medium-high heat, sauté the onions and garlic until softened but not coloured (about 5 minutes)
Add the rice and stir thoroughly to coat all the rice with the onion mixture.
Add the wine and stir constantly until the wine has nearly evaporated.
Lower the heat to medium and add a ladleful of the hot stock.
Stir the rice until the stock is completely absorbed.
Add the next ladleful and stir until it's completely absorbed into the rice mixture as well.
Continue to add a ladleful of hot stock at a time until, stirring so the rice absorbs the liquid until you've used all the stock. This will take around 30 minutes (the best test for “doneness” is to taste - the rice will be cooked when it still has a slight "bite" when you bite into it). If you run out of stock before you feel the rice is cooked properly, you can add some boiling water (have a kettle on hand).
Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest and the parmesan.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add about 3/4 of the cooked ratatouille to the risotto and stir to distribute the vegetables evenly through the rice.
Divide the risotto between the bowls and serve with an extra spoon or so of vegetables on top.
You can make the ratatouille in advance and warm it in a low (300˚F) oven while you make the risotto.
Disclosure: I was provided with cookware in exchange for recipe development and promoting Le Creuset’s stainless steel line. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!