Episode 304: I’m Cheating on You

The French call them trucs. I call them short cuts, tricks, or cheats. By any name, however, we’re talking about the same thing: methods that allow you to simplify cooking. For a home cook puzzling out how to get dinner on the table more quickly and easily night after night (let’s face it, the gig can become tedious after awhile), these short cuts can make all the difference. No holds are barred as long as a given short cut doesn’t compromise the quality of the food itself.

In this episode I share three of my favorite little tricks: making ravioli with packaged wonton wrappers instead of your own start-from-scratch ravioli dough, cooking risotto in the oven instead of on top of the stove, and conjuring up sticky buns with a quick biscuit dough instead of a yeast-based dough.

All of these recipes are wonderfully flexible. My ravioli recipe features three cheeses, but you can fill them with whatever you like – leftover, then chopped-up meat or fish or vegetables, for example. My risotto recipe features duck and sweet potatoes, but you can add your own favorite ingredients to the basic risotto. The point is that my method doesn’t require you to stand over a pot, stirring frequently. You can use the time saved to prepare the rest of the meal or – what the heck – to pour yourself a glass of wine and read the paper. Finally, I use the cream biscuit dough to make sticky buns, but you could use it as the base for any biscuit or scone, sweet or savory. Just add your own flavorings. And have fun.

Recipes

Baked Risotto with Red Wine, Sweet Potatoes and Duck Confit

Baked Risotto with Red Wine, Sweet Potatoes and Duck Confit

Three Cheese Wonton Ravioli

Three Cheese Wonton Ravioli

Biscuit Sticky Buns

Biscuit Sticky Buns