Posts Tagged ‘risotto’

Veggie & Parmesan Brown Rice Risotto

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I stumbled across this recipe on the Whole Foods website while I searched for cooking methods for short-grain brown rice. Accidentally, at Costco, David bought us 12 pounds of short-grain brown rice. I make baked brown rice with long-grain brown rice all the time, but I wasn’t 100% sure that the same receipe would work for short grain rice. I was trying to sort out whether I need more water or what, and instead, I learned that you can make risotto with short-grain brown rice. Makes sense, after all, since traditional risotto is made with short-grain rice.

I decided to make risotto instead of sorting out how to/whether to adjust my regular brown rice recipe. Mostly, I pushed that problem off for another day, but in the meantime, I got to eat risotto. I also got to use up a zucchini we had sitting on the counter from the farmer’s market.

I made a number of changes from the initial recipe, skipping the veggies I don’t care for (most of them!) and lightening up on the cheese, butter, and oil (we’re trying to eat a bit healthier around here). I also used Vegetable Stock instead of Vegetable broth as the original recipe called for, for a richer flavor. It worked. The risotto was delicious. It’s only problem was that it was still a bit on the al dente side. One key difference between white rice risotto and brown rice risotto: the brown rice takes longer!

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Veggie & Parmesan Brown Rice Risotto
Adapted from the Whole Foods website; Serves 6 as a main dish, more like 12 as a side.

  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain brown rice
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces by weight) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method

Bring broth and water to a boil in a medium pot.  Cover broth-water mixture and reduce heat to low.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, until toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the broth-water mixture and cook, stirring constantly and adjusting heat if needed to maintain a simmer, until liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat process, adding about 1/2 cup of the broth-water mixture each time, until rice is just beginning to get tender, about 25 minutes. Add carrots and continue process with broth-water mixture. When rice is just al dente and carrots are just tender, add zucchini and cook 5 minutes more. (If broth mixture gets low, add water as needed.)

Add cheese, butter/margarine, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add about 1/2 cup more of the broth-water mixture to finished risotto before serving, if you like.

Note: I thought this was very tasty. I expected to have to pick out the zucchini–David likes it, not me, but was pleasantly surprised. It just all kind of melded together and tasted great. I don’t think this needed more cheese at all, even though I basically halved what the recipe called for. The only thing I could’ve done was cook it longer, but we were impatient and hungry! For just us, I’d definitely half this recipe next time. We had tons of leftovers.

P.S. Sorry for the terrible picture. My camera wasn’t charged, and I couldn’t find the charger, so I had to make do with my iPhone. But a poor picture is better than no picture, right?

Chive Risotto Cakes

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

A long time ago, David and I tried a delicious arancini at this little Italian restaurant by his old apartment. It inspired me to try my own version of the fried balls of rice. The restaurant version had tomato sauce and italian sausage at the center. I actually tried two takes on the same dish one with traditional Italian flavors and one with mexican flavors (this later grew into Mexican Risotto).

The results were delicious, but a lot of trouble since I had to make risotto in the first place before I could form it into balls, toss them with bread crumbs, and fry them. Ina Garten has found a better way.

Her Chive Risotto Cakes recipe, from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook, avoids the whole issue of needing leftover risotto by creating a substitute recipe that is much simpler, with none of the constant stirring and careful attention required by a traditional risotto.

The risotto cakes are creamy and cheesy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. They were  very good. This recipe made about 20 3-inch cakes. Think of them as the best hashbrowns you’ve ever had.

Sure, these Risotto Cakes were delicious as is, but I’m more excited to try my hand at arancini again–with this little shortcut tucked in my back pocket, I know they’ll be worth the trouble.

Chive Risotto Cakes
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook

  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a half tablespoon salt and the rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, Fontina, 1¼ teaspoons salt and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard ice cream scoop or large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾ inches thick.

Place 4 to 6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes.

Note: Don’t miss the step where you have to chill the rice mixture for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight. This isn’t a last-minute kind of dish!

Sun-Dried Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Here’s another of our favorite risotto recipes. This is the one David always makes when he takes over the dinner preparations. It starts as a basic risotto milanese, with arborio rice, chicken stock, garlic, white wine, and parmesan cheese. We add to this classic flavor combination with Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes, which play nicely against the creamy texture of the risotto and the tang of Parmesan cheese.

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Sun-Dried Tomato and Sausage Risotto

  • 3.5 cups Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth (stock is better)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 pound bulk Italian sausage (or about three links, casings removed)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil/from a jar, diced
  • 2 teaspoons sun-dried tomato oil, from the jar
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil.
  2. Saute Italian sausage with garlic in a medium skillet, until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and put aside, reserving about a teaspoon of the  drippings in the skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, add sun-dried tomato oil and arborio rice and cook over medium high heat until grains start to turn translucent and shiny at the edges. You want to make sure that all of the grains of rice get coated, so if there’s not enough fat in the pan, you can always add a teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil. Don’t add too much–coating the rice is good, but extra grease will make the final dish extra greasy.
  4. Begin to add chicken stock mixture, one or two ladles at a time, until the rice will no longer absorb the liquid. Stir often. When it is finished, the rice should have a creamy texture and be tender, with a little bit of bite to it (just slightly al dente).
  5. When rice is finished cooking, remove from heat, and stir in cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and cooked sausage. Serve immediately.

Note: As I’ve said before, we make risotto often around here. Risotto is more about the method than anything else, and once you get that down, you can do just about anything with the flavors and ingredients. You’ve seen Mexican Risotto here, but we also do a similar dish to this one with chicken, a tomato based sausage risotto, cheddar risotto arancini, sausage arancini, etc. Like I said, once you get the method down, you’re really only limited by your imagination.

Mexican Risotto

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

David and I have been making risotto for a long time. It’s one of those things that impresses non-cooking people, just by the sound of it, but it’s really not that hard to make at all. It just requires a little bit of attention. We make a more basic risotto that is delicious, with the traditional Parmesan cheese, but I’ve also developed a few variations on that theme, and this is one of them.

This risotto is just as creamy as the traditional kind, with added bite from the sharp cheddar cheese and added spice from the spicy mexican sausage. I put a little sour cream on mine, but that’s not necessary, I suppose (David skips it). This really turns out to be a like spicy Mexican Macaroni and Cheese. Yum.

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Mexican Risotto

  • 3.5 Cups Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 C. white wine
  • 1 Cup of sharp cheddar cheese (I prefer Tillamook’s Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar, it’s not hard for us to go through a pound a week of this stuff!).
  • 1/2 Pound Mexican Chorizo Sausage
  • 1 Cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil.
  2. Saute chorizo with garlic in a medium skillet, until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and put aside, reserving about a tablespoon of the chorizo drippings in the skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, add arborio rice and cook over medium high heat until grains start to turn translucent and shiny at the edges. The chorizo drippings will give everything kind of an orange tinge. You want to make sure that all of the grains of rice get coated, so if there’s not enough fat from the chorizo (and there should be), you can always add a teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil, or just save a little more of the drippings from the fried sausage. Don’t add too much–coating the rice is good, but extra grease will make the final dish extra greasy.
  4. Begin to add chicken stock mixture, one or two ladles at a time, until the rice will no longer absorb the liquid. The rice should have a creamy texture and be tender, with a little bit of bite to it (just slightly al dente).
  5. When rice is finished cooking, remove from heat, and stir in cheese and cooked sausage. Serve immediately, with sour cream if desired.
Note: Try this one, you won’t be disappointed. It does come out a bit spicy though, from the chorizo, so if spicy isn’t your thing (Sarah), I don’t recommend this. It’s a subtle heat, though, so as long as you don’t hate spicy things, you’ll be able to handle it.
Chorizo, if you aren’t familiar, is a spicy mexican sausage. You can get it in most regular grocery stores, usually in the meat case with other sausages like bratwurst and italian sausage. It’s made from pork, and we also use it in our taco meat, combining it with ground beef. Cut it out of the casings and brown it just like you would ground beef, just know that it takes a little longer than ground beef would to cook through. It brings a salty flavor to the dish, so go easy on the salt until you’ve tasted things. Spanish style chorizo is also available at some stores, but for this, you want the mexican style. The Spanish chorizo is cured and smoked, and has a pepperoni-like texture. Mexican chorizo is an entirely different thing.
We serve this as a main dish, but if you cut down on the meat, it could probably be a side dish just as easily.