Brad Pitt was traveling for business earlier this week, which left me to fend for myself while he was gone. I managed to stay very busy by landscaping the side yard. I tend to do things like this when he is gone for any extended period of time. He is surely very excited when he comes home and finds new landscaping or one of the rooms painted a new color or new bathroom decor. I figure I am just saving him the time and headache of having to do all the work himself.
When I brought him home from the airport, I watched carefully to see his reaction when he got out of the car and saw the side yard for the first time. I think he has learned to keep an even keel and not show much surprise because he pulled his suitcase from the hatchback, turned toward the house, glanced over at the yard, looked at me and said, “Nice, Katie. Nice job.” It was kind of a monotonous tone, with hints of admiration and a bit of annoyance. I can smell it when someone is annoyed from a mile away. But he did a nice job of trying to hide it. I explained to him that it was technically a work in progress, because I used my birthday money to buy the mulch and pea gravel and ran out of money before I could really transform the pathway into the shape I wanted. Which I hoped showed him how truly thrifty and mindful of budget I was with the project. I think he appreciated it.
To show him how happy I was to have him home, I made one of my usual romantic dinners: Risotto with shrimp and steamed green beans on the side. I never follow a recipe with my risotto, I just eyeball the ingredients and change it up each time. But for the most part I always do something along these lines:
Saute diced sweet onion in butter and olive oil. Add chopped garlic and saute for a minute. Add arborio rice. Stir to coat rice. Be careful not to brown the garlic (it would be bitter!) Turn up heat and pour in white wine until rice mixture is covered. Begin stirring. Plan to stand by the stove and continue stirring almost the entire time the risotto is cooking. When I say plan, what I mean is: have any necessary ingredients for the meal ready to go ahead of time and have a glass of wine next to the stove so you don’t die of thirst while you are stirring away.
After the rice absorbs the wine, you can add more wine or start adding chicken broth. Make sure the broth is warm and ladle a cup or so into the pan of rice and stir. Absorb liquid, add more liquid, absorb liquid, add more liquid, etc etc. Stir, stir, stir. I also add pats of butter a few times while the rice is working its magic.
When it is done the risotto will be creamy and an al dente bite to it. Sometimes I will stir in some parmesan cheese, but I’ve found I don’t need it and the added butter gives it a nice flavor.
Last night I sauteed the shrimp and threw them on top. I also threw some sweet cherry tomatoes on top. And voila, a delicious dinner. Between the new landscaping and knock out meals like this, I am sure Brad Pitt falls more in love with me by the day.