Tag 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

Ragu Risotto

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I can never get too much risotto. This rich and beefy risotto, adapted from Maxine Clark’s Risotto, is substantial enough to be a meal unto itself.  Ragu sauce is traditionally served atop a bowl of pasta but it is just as good, if not better, when served with creamy risotto rice.  The ingredients are really pantry staples and if you have ragu sauce on hand***, this risotto makes for a quick and easy dinner.

If you aren’t a fan of veal you can substitute ground beef, pork, turkey, or chicken or use any combination of the meat.  (To make this into a vegetarian dish you could omit the pancetta and use and equal amount of tofu crumbles).

***  I like to make a large batch of ragu sauce and store it in the freezer for up to three months.  To use, simply defrost the ragu in the refrigerator overnight then bring to a simmer before adding the rice.  Its that easy.

RAGU RISOTTO

6 tablespoons olive oil

10 ounces ground veal

1/4 pancetta, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 small carrot, shredded

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1/3 cup dry white wine

1- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 quarts low sodium beef broth

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups risotto rice

3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Add the ground veal, pancetta, onions, carrot, and celery to the pot.  Stir gently and cook until the meat is no longer pink but is not browned.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and add the wine.  Boil until the wine has evaporated.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste,2 cups of the beef broth and the bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Reduce the heat to low, partially cover and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  The sauce will be thick and rich.
  • In a large saucepan, bring the remaining broth to a simmer.
  • Add the rice to the sauce and stir to combine.
  • Raise the temperature to medium-high.
  • Add a ladle of broth to the rice and stir to combine.  Stirring occasionally, cook until most of the broth has evaporated.  Continue adding broth, stirring, and cooking until all of the broth has been added or until the rice is al dente and cooked to your liking.
  • Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf.
  • Stir in the cheese and the butter.  Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes then serve.

Serves 6

Bacon and Herb Risotto

I love risotto.  Unfortunately this tasty rice dish has developed the reputation for being time consuming and difficult to make.  It really isn’t. You can serve a basic white risotto as an accompaniment to a saucy dish, dress it up with sophisticated add-ins as a fancy side dish or pair it with a green salad and serve it alone as an entree for a quick weeknight dinner.  Rice is the perfect palliate to build off of and I think all home cooks should have a good risotto recipe in their repertoire.
I no longer use a written recipe when I make my risotto; rather I use a standard formula of liquid to rice and add in whatever ingredients sound good or I have on hand at the time.  For the intimidated or new risotto maker, Maxine Clark’s Risotto is a great primer for learning about the importance of choosing the correct rice (yes, this does make a difference) and the role each component plays in completing the dish.  Her recipes can provide inspiration for flavor combinations to get you started.  I find that homemade broth is best.  Whenever I don’t have the time to make my own (which is usually the case) a low sodium store bought version will work.  Full sodium versions tend to be too salty and you want to be able to taste your ingredients, and not the salt.
BACON AND HERB RISOTTO
 
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 to 4 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth
6 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs (I used thyme and sage)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1)  Place the bacon in a heavy sauce pan, place over medium high heat and cook until crisp, stirring
     occasionally.
2)  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the onion and saute until soft, 5-7 minutes.
3)  Add the rice and stir. Cook until the rice is translucent, 1-2 minutes.
4)  Add the wine and cook until absorbed, 1-2 minutes.

5)  Gradually add the hot broth a 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir regularly, but not constantly, until broth is
almost absorbed.  Add broth as needed and continue to cook until rice is al dente–or to your
individual liking.   The risotto should be moist and have some liquids in it since it will continue to
thicken as it sits.  You may not use all of the broth.

6)  Off the heat.  Add the chopped herbs and ground pepper and stir to combine.

7)  Stir in the cheese and stir until it is completely combined and melted.

8)  Serve immediately with more freshly grated cheese as desired.

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