Backpacking Recipe: Dehydrated Risotto with Spring Vegetables | REI

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Risotto is one of our favorite comfort meals. It’s rich, creamy, and adaptable to any season. While we can have it any time of the year, spring is when we crave it most. It’s still kind of chilly out, so we want something that’s going to be filling and hearty. But at the same time, we want it to be bright and cheerful too. And the thing that satisfies both for us is risotto!

While risotto can be quite versatile, unless you have lots of time and endless fuel to burn, it isn’t the most camp-friendly meal. That’s because in order to achieve its creamy richness, you need to spend a lot of time stirring the risotto over low controlled heat – which slowly coaxes out the starch from the rice. The long cook time means burns through a lot of fuel, which not a luxury most campers can afford. So how to enjoy risotto on your next camping trip? The answer is dehydration.

By making the risotto at home and then dehydrating it, you can perform all the time-consuming parts of the recipe from the comfort of your kitchen. Once your risotto is made, spread it out in a thin and even layer on your dehydrator sheets. This is also a great time to dehydrate some vegetables that you want to add to the risotto later.

After dehydrating for 6 hours at 135 F the risotto and accompanying vegetables with be completely dry and brittle. The starch that made the risotto so creamy will have dried out and the solids will encrust the outside of each grain of rice. Then just pack all of the dehydrated ingredients together, along with some parmesan cheese.

At the campsite, dump all of the ingredients into a pot, add 2 cups of water, and start to simmer and stir. The rice and vegetables will start to plump back up and all that starchy goodness will return. Rehydrating this meal at camp takes only a fraction of the time it would take to make it from scratch on site.

With a little prep work at home, you too can enjoy the rich creaminess of homemade risotto at camp in no time at all!

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