Savory Oatmeal Breakfast "Risotto"

Yeah oatmeal, you so fancy now!

I have this wonderful routine on the weekends now, where I go about my day on Saturday, and then Sunday morning I settle in with a warm breakfast and a hot drink, fire up my DVR and relax with The Kitchen. That show is precisely the type of thing I would tell you I hate to watch, but I'm so into it! In between wondering how Katie Lee was ever married to Billy Joel or how GZ keeps his suits so clean while cooking or whether Marcella will find yet another opportunity to remind us that she's Mexican (salud!), I really find myself interested in the recipes and learning from their crazy kitchen tips. 

Recently I was taken by GZ's suggestion that I could in fact make risotto with that giant bag of steel cut oats getting dusty in my pantry. Um, what? Sounds delicious! And even better, it sounded like a good way to help empty out my kitchen, since I had almost all the ingredients on hand, including a hunk of parmesan I needed to use ASAP and three chicken carcasses crowding my freezer and waiting to be turned into stock. 

I have to say, this recipe bowled me over a little bit. I mean, it's oatmeal for breakfast, not a new concept right? But it's savory, which is unexpected, and easily reheated for an easy weekday office breakfast, and crazy delicious. And if you are not me and you enjoy a runny egg yolk, I suspect this would be amazing with a crispy fried egg on top.

And even with pretty basic ingredients, if, like me, you also find a bonus jar of saffron in your pantry that you forgot you had, you should definitely add that. 

Savory Oatmeal Breakfast "Risotto"

Adapted, barely, from Geoffrey Zakarian

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup steel cut oats
salt and pepper
pinch of saffron (optional)
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tbs butter
1 small handfull fresh basil, torn or chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the oats and saffron, if using.  Toast the oats in the pan for about 2 minutes until they start to smell fragrant and nutty.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock and 1 1/2 cups of the water, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and let cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Add the rest of the liquid and repeat. At this point, if the oats are still a little crunchy, repeat process with more water, about a 1/2 cup at a time, until oats are creamy. It took a few more additions for my oats to completely soften.
  3. When oats have finished cooking, remove skillet from heat and add butter, basil, and parmesan. Stir to combine, and serve immediately. Top with more basil and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.