When The Huffington Post last caught up with Chef Danielle Saunders, she was still relishing in her Food Network "Chopped Champions" win and showing us how to kick our Superbowl parties up a notch. Now, as she wraps up a summer of entertaining in The Hamptons, she'll show us some easy recipes for heading back to school.
First up: Creamy, Creole-inspired Risotto Jambalaya, which employs Chef Danielle's "soul fusion" technique, an approach to cooking that she describes as "the reinvention of classic soul food dishes."
"I'm using classic Southern style ... in conjunction with a lot of international experiences [I've had]," Saunders said. "All of those experiences allow room for cross-breeding recipes, so to speak."
That means soul fusion works both ways. Tonight, Italian arborio rice takes on a more cajun guise, while southern greens get dressed and ready to play the starring role in caesar salad next week.
Watch how Chef Danielle does it and get the full Risotto Jambalaya recipe here.
This is the tried and true basic recipe for the classic northern Italian dish of risotto. It uses starchy arborio rice, flavorful stock, white wine and Parmesan cheese. Treat this recipe as your starting point. You can add any mix-ins or toppings you like. Get some ideas from the following slides. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/basic-risotto_n_1062364.html" target="_hplink">Basic Risotto</a> recipe</strong>
What makes this risotto green? Why spinach of course. Wilt a bag of spinach in the microwave or blanch it in boiling water. Then just add it to the risotto once the rice is cooked. It's a simple way to add color, flavor and nutrition to your basic risotto. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/green-risotto_n_1062365.html" target="_hplink">Green Risotto</a> recipe</strong>
Beet Risotto With Lemon Mascarpone
Beets add color and crunch to this risotto recipe. The beets are grated and added to the risotto near the end of cooking. Adding them in raw maintains their nutritional value and texture. Top with a mixture of lemon zest and mascarpone cheese to add a creamy, cooling sensation. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/beet-risotto-with-lemon-m_n_1057596.html" target="_hplink">Beet Risotto with Lemon Mascarpone</a> recipe</strong>
Creamy Seafood Risotto
Enjoy this luxurious risotto for a special dinner. Switch out the usual chicken broth for clam juice to get a true flavor of the sea. A pinch of saffron adds a pretty yellow hue. Add sauteed shrimp and crabmeat to the risotto once it's finished cooking. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/creamy-seafood-risotto_n_1058354.html" target="_hplink">Creamy Seafood Risotto</a> recipe</strong>
Pear Risotto With Prosciutto
Pear and prosciutto? You would think this pairing doesn't work, but it's actually quite a wonderful sweet and salty match. Add the chopped prosciutto and diced pear when ready to saute the rice. Then when serving, top with additional fried prosciutto and fried sage. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/pear-risotto-with-prosciu_n_1049638.html" target="_hplink">Pear Risotto with Prosciutto</a> recipe</strong>
Shrimp And Pea Risotto
Use seafood stock or clam juice in this shrimp risotto recipe. A little bit of saffron adds a golden hue. Add chopped shrimp and frozen peas near the end of cooking but continue to simmer until the shrimp is cooked through. Stir in chopped preserved lemon and lemon juice to add some bright, tangy flavor. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/shrimp--pea-risotto_n_1062368.html" target="_hplink">Shrimp and Pea Risotto</a> recipe</strong>
Fennel And Sausage Risotto
Meat lovers will appreciate this risotto, which makes a delicious dinner all on its own. Once you make the basic risotto (with a little saffron added for color), stir in sauteed sliced fennel and crumbled sweet Italian sausage. And don't forget some Parmesan and butter for even more creaminess. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/fennel-and-sausage-risott_n_1058384.html" target="_hplink">Fennel and Sausage Risotto </a>recipe</strong>
Leek And Pancetta Risotto
Instead of yellow onions, this risotto recipes uses chopped leeks as a base for a sweeter onion flavor. You could also try red onions or Vidalia onions. Serve the risotto with shredded Parmesan cheese and crispy pancetta. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/leek--pancetta-risotto_n_1062366.html" target="_hplink">Leek and Pancetta Risotto</a> recipe</strong>
Red Wine Risotto
For a heartier flavor, this risotto recipe uses beef broth, red wine and a bit of tomato paste. In northern Italy they serve this type of risotto as a first course. Any red wine that's suitable to drink would work in this recipe. But to keep it traditional, use Barbera or Barbaresco. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/red-wine-risotto_n_1061813.html" target="_hplink">Red Wine Risotto</a> recipe</strong>
Wild Mushroom And Red Wine Risotto
Mushrooms add lots of flavor to this risotto, which also has a bit of red wine. Saute a pound of mixed wild mushrooms in butter and add them to the risotto just before serving. A grating of Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley are all the finishing touches the dish needs. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/wild-mushroom-and-red-win_n_1058799.html" target="_hplink">Wild Mushroom and Red Wine Risotto</a> recipe</strong>
Winter Squash Risotto
If you're craving a real wintery risotto, this is the recipe. Shiitake mushrooms and chopped butternut squash are sauteed with the shallots just before the rice is added. Saffron lends a pretty hue to the dish. Feel free to use any winter squash in the recipe. And instead of white wine, try using vermouth, which will lend an herbal flavor. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/winter-squash-risotto_n_1056564.html" target="_hplink">Winter Squash Risotto</a> recipe</strong>
WATCH: Squash And Vanilla Risotto
Giada makes her version of the classic northern Italian dish with a unique ingredient. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/butternut-squash-and-vanilla-risotto-recipe/index.html" target="_hplink">Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto</a> recipe</strong>