Category Archives: risotto

Green Vegetable Risotto

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Spring is in the air, well sort of. At least it is here in Belgium. And the calendar definitely says it is spring which means that the fresh baby vegetables are beginning to replace hearty root vegetables at the stands in the markets. So what better way to celebrate the new season than with this easy risotto that is filled with the best fresh vegetables that spring has to offer?

Marking risotto is more of a formula rather than an exact recipe. Rice is slowly cooked in a mixture of broth and white wine. When the rice is al dente, you stir in the add-ins of your choice which in this case is the freshest of the baby vegetables I found at the market. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you like or that look good. And the final touch is the creamy addition of both parmesan cheese and creme fraiche (you can substitute sour cream if you prefer) which adds a touch of tang while bringing the entire dish together.

Enjoy the risotto as a meal unto itself or alongside your favorite grilled meat. Just be sure to have the rest of your meal ready before you finish the risotto since it truly tastes best when eaten immediately.

GREEN VEGETABLE RISOTTO

3/4  c green beans, blanched and snapped into 1 inch pieces

3/4 c sugar snap peas

3/4 c asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 small shallot, minced

 

1 green onion – white part only- mince

1/4 cup creme fraiche

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

top with sliced green onion  (Green part)

 

  • Fill a medium sized pan with water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the green beans, snap peas and asparagus.
  • Cook for 30 seconds, drain in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Combine the broth and white wine in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce the temperature but keep the broth mixture hot.
  • In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute until it is soft and golden.
  • Add the rice and stir to combine making sure each grain of rice is coated with butter.
  • Gradually add the hot broth to the rice by the ladleful, stirring to combine after each addition.  Continue to stir the rice often to keep it from sticking.
  • Continue adding the broth being sure to add the next ladle before the rice has cooked itself dry.  Repeat this process until the rice is tender to the bite.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Prior to adding the last ladle of broth, stir in the vegetables and the green onion to the rice and stir to combine.
  • Off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and creme fraiche.
  • Top with sliced green onion.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

Citrus Risotto

 

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Its citrus season and there is nothing better than these juicy and colorful fruits to brighten up dreary winter days. The fruit is great eaten as is but really shines when used as part of a dish. Right now I’m missing the lemon and mandarine trees that graced my garden in Albania but I’m pleasantly surprised at the variety of fruits I’m finding in my local markets here in Belgium. When I came across a honey pompelo, I just knew I needed to buy one to take home. When I cut through its skin and thick pith I found what was essentially a giant grapefruit. The flesh was golden (there are also ruby red varieties) and it tasted like a mild, less acidic grapefruit. I was intrigued. I had recently been gifted with a large stash of Spanish clementines so I knew that a citrus dish was in the making.

Followers of this blog know that I love risotto so when I came across a citrus risotto recipe in Judy Roger’s The Zuni Cafe Cookbook I knew what I was going to make. I substituted my pompelo for the grapefruit in the original recipe, added in my clementines as well as a healthy dose of white wine. The results? Try them for yourself but I’m sure you’ll agree that this recipe is a keeper.

CITRUS RISOTTO

1 pompelo, plus juice

1 clementine, plus juice

1 lime, plus juice

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, minced

2 cups arborio rice

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

  • Slice the ends off of the citrus, cutting deeply enough to just expose the flesh. Working over a large bowl, use a paring knife to carve away the skin and pith from the fruit. Carefully remove the membrane from each citrus section and remove any seeds. Set the juice and citrus aside.
  • Combine the chicken broth and wine in a medium sized pot and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches a low simmer. Keep warm.
  • Melt the butter in a large heavy pot set over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, stir in the shallots and cook until soft and translucent about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir the rice into the butter and shallot mixture stirring with a wooden spoon until the grains are coated with the butter.
  • Working with one ladleful of the liquid at a time, add the liquid into the rice stirring well after each addition. Cook and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed before adding more liquid. Do not let the mixture become too dry.
  • Continue adding broth and cooking until the rice is al dente and creamy looking. You may not have used all of the broth mixture at this point. (I usually have about 1/2 cup of broth left when my rice is done).
  • Stir in the reserved citrus and juices, breaking up the sections to distribute them through the rice. Check the rice for doneness and add the remaining broth if necessary.
  • Remove the rice from the heat and beat in the mascarpone cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

 

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Roasted Mushroom & Squash Risotto

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I love risotto. Whether served as an entree or a side dish I think it is the perfect comfort food. It is also wonderfully versatile; I’d be hard pressed to think of an ingredient that can’t be added into the rice.

I love this combination of butternut squash and portobello mushrooms. Because the vegetables are roasted ahead of time they are an earthy and perfectly tender compliment to the rice. The fontina cheese adds additional subtle flavor and creaminess to the dish. I usually eat this risotto as an entree but it is equally good served alongside grilled steak. Yum.

ROASTED MUSHROOM & BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO

2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, quartered

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, minced

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

3/4 cup dry white wine

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup finely grated Fontina cheese

Salt and pepper for seasoning

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Evenly distribute the squash and mushrooms on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Heat the broth in a large saucepan until it simmers. Reduce the temperature and keep warm.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shallots to the butter and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the shallots and stir to coat with the butter.
  • Stir in the white wine and bring to a boil.
  • Once the wine is almost evaporated begin adding the broth, one ladleful at a time. Stirring regularly, but not constantly cook the rice until the liquid is mostly evaporated before adding in more broth.
  • Repeat the process until the rice is creamy and al dente. You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the roasted squash and mushrooms to the rice and fold to combine.
  • Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves: 4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

Wild Mushroom Risotto

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Fall is the time for mushrooms and what better way to honor fungi than with a wild mushroom risotto. Actually, depending upon where you live and the weather, some wild mushrooms have been ripe for the picking for a couple of months now. Whether you forage for your own–as my mother did in Maine for this risotto, or you hunt them down at your local market, their earthiness makes for a risotto that is satisfying enough to serve as a stand alone entree or a wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats.

For this risotto I used black trumpet mushrooms since they were readily available but you can use whatever type of mushrooms you can find. A combination of different varieties is also good.

 

WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO

3 cups wild mushrooms, picked over and roughly chopped black trumpet mushrooms

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet. When the butter has melted add in the mushrooms.
  • Saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft, about 4-5 minutes. The cooking time will depend upon the variety of mushrooms you have used.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and remove the mushrooms from the melted butter. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.
  • Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved mushrooms and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Parmesan and mascarpone cheeses.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

 

Freshly foraged black trumpet mushrooms

Freshly foraged black trumpet mushrooms

Hot Plate Cooking ****Ham & Cheese Risotto w/ Asparagus****

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We lucked out and were able to move into our house a lot sooner than we had initially expected. As such, this is my final “Hot Plate Cooking” post. As much as I’ve enjoyed them, I have to say I’m relieved. So what did I make for my final hotel room meal? One of my favorite standbys for when I am short on time, or in this case space………..risotto of course!

I had some ham leftover from an earlier dinner and had planned on adding that to my risotto with a bit of parmesan cheese. But then I saw the asparagus. I love asparagus and will eat it whenever the opportunity arises. Of course, living in Albania it was impossible to find it fresh and I quickly discovered that the frozen or jarred versions are just not the same. So, with the exception of a blissful spring week in Budapest where I savored complete meals out of nothing by asparagus, I put my cravings on hold for two and a half years. Until now. So when I saw the asparagus sitting in the produce case of Carrefour, I knew I had to buy it. I think it is always good but it also pairs perfectly with the ham and cheese, resulting in a wonderful early spring (I can hope, can’t I) meal. Yum….and here’s to now having a real kitchen again!

 

HAM & CHEESE RISOTTO w/ ASPARAGUS

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

1 cup cooked ham, cut into cubes

1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces and lightly steamed

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer. Or, if you are short on burner space the way I am, heat the broth and wine mixture into a microwave safe bowl for 5 minutes or until hot.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the ham and asparagus with the last of your broth. Fold gently to combine.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

photo 2-19

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

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