Saturday, December 18, 2010

Brown Rice Risotto

I love risotto.  At first, I shied away from it since I figured that to get that creamy texture, they had to use tons of cream and fat.  When I checked out the ingredients, however, they only include rice, a little butter and LOTS of chicken stock.  I've also come to appreciate its versatility, too.  We had risotto with butternut squash which was delicious but you could use just a combination of just about anything you might want or have in the house - shrimp, scallops, chicken, peas, squash, leeks, mushrooms, etc.   I typically serve risotto as a side dish, but last night it was our non-meat meal (served with a bean salad on the side to add a bit more protein).

The only downside to this delicious dish is that risotto is a lot of work.  And brown rice just doubles the time.  But brown rice is all I keep in the house and I never remember to buy arborio so that's what I use (the extra fiber and nutrients from the brown rice are a plus, too).  However, as soon as you have a bite of risotto, you forget about the work and just enjoy the dish.

Although I haven't tested it yet, here's a blog post to how to make baked risotto.  It still takes 45 minutes to cook but at least doesn't require constant attention normal risotto requires: Ezra Pound Cake's Baked Risotto.

Brown Rice Risotto
Taken from: A Hint of Honey
Serves: 8 side dishes, 4 main course
  • Any add-ins you'd like (just be sure to pre-cook anything beforehand and then set aside: squash, mushrooms, asparagus, shrimp, etc)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup brown rice (or arborio)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or 1 Tbsp. lemon juice + 1/4 cup water)
  • 3 1/2- 8 cups chicken broth (depending on whether you use brown or arborio rice, could also substitute some water for stock; I used about 5 cups of broth)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
-Prepare add-ins by pre-cooking them beforehand (peas are an exception - they do not have to be pre-cooked).
-Heat 3 Tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots/onions and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.
-While the shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
-Add the wine (lemon + water mixture). Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2-1 cup of stock to the rice. Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock in 1/2 cup increments. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite (about 15 to 20 minutes for arborio and up to 1 hour for brown rice). Remove from heat.
Note: The stock amount given is approximate. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and you find yourself without, just use water or any cooking water you might have used
-Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese and your add-ins. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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