Cooking With Stanley 54

This week's menu on Cooking With Stanley is nowhere near as dramatic as last week. However, it is equally tasty. One of the things I'm most grateful for from this journey has been how it pushed me to experiment with ingredients and try things differently. This week in particular, I made two rather large changes to the recipes. I don't think I would have had the confidence to do that before I started cooking through The Tucci Cookbook. 

Stewed Veal Shanks with Mushrooms
Milanese Risotto
Rice with Tomatoes

Several people in my family are not fans of veal. It's also quite pricey so instead of using veal shanks for the main dish, I substituted short ribs and went along with the recipe as is. The trick when substituting one meat for another is the difference in cook time. This recipe starts on the stove and moves to the oven. I did bake the dish for the amount of time required but it took a bit longer to cook them on the stove at first. Short ribs are a great alternative to veal shanks and maybe even better because the meat was falling of the bone. The flavor was incredible. The sauce that the short ribs cooked in added an extra element to the dish that was outstanding, especially with the meaty flavor from the mushrooms.

Milanese Risotto calls for an important ingredient that I unfortunately had to live without, saffron. Yes, I did find saffron threads in the store. No, I did not buy the vial. Why? It was a whopping $15. I doubt I would ever use saffron again and I could not justify the purchase. So I went forward with the risotto recipe sans saffron and it turned out just fine. It was a simple, plain risotto but still quite tasty. It was best this way because the sauce from the short ribs paired beautifully with it. The risotto pretty much anchored the rest of the meal.

The Rice with Tomatoes was not part of the above two dishes. I made this for an easy, quick weeknight dinner that everyone loved. It's such a simple dish and a great go-to for busy nights. Add a little extra cheese and you've got yourself a mighty comforting bowl of rice. You could up the nutrients by substituting rice for quinoa, couscous or farro. 

Have you ever made any big substitutions when cooking before?