Anything you do with this broth will make you proud. Sip it by the cup for a lift; simmer it into soups, stews, pilafs, curries and sauces.
A simple technique separates this from other vegetable broths. Build deep tasting character by browning the onions, then picking up all their rich tasting glaze from the bottom of the pan by adding wine to the pan and boiling it down. That's how you create a flavor foundation like few others. A stash in the freezer is like money in the bank.
Keeps 4 days in the refrigerator, 6 months in the freezer
1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet (not non-stick!) over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery, onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula, until the onions are a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and basil and cook a few seconds more.
2. Add the wine and stir, scraping up any brown glaze in the pan, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to an 8-quart stockpot. Add the romaine, tomato, nutmeg and enough water to cover the solids by 3 to 4 inches. Bring to a gentle bubble, partially cover, and simmer slowly for about 90 minutes.
3. Strain the broth into a large bowl, pressing down on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Cool and chill. Skim off any solidified oil from broth's surface. Refrigerate or freeze.
This story appears in Eating In with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Issue 1, which is available as an e-book.
"It's sort of a funny thing for me to say as a restaurant chef, but my advice to my sons and to everyone is to cook at home at least most of the time," says chef Cal Peternell, author of Twelve Recipes.