Monday, June 7, 2010

Obligatory Risotto Post

Hey, I love risotto. But man, is it everywhere. Don't know what to put on your upscale menu to feed the veggies? Try risotto. Unsure what to do with farmer's market produce? Try risotto. There's brunch risotto, spring risotto, orzo risotto, risotto with bacon, risotto cakes, yeesh. Here's mine: Brown Rice Risotto.

Tasty and fibrous! As with any risotto, you can toss just about any green, legume, or veggie in there and it will taste amazing. Here, we used peas, pea shoots, and asparagus, and a touch of parm. Blanching the veggies for a couple of minutes before tossing them into your rice mixture allows you to worry more about cooking the rice, less about cooking the veggies.

Brown rice, as I'm sure you know, is a much crankier grain than it's paler counterpart. So, we're going to parboil the stuff before slowly sauteing it in the typical stock bath, to ensure that the entire evening isn't taken up by your wooden spoon and a pile of fiesty rice.

You'll need:

2 cups short grain brown rice
2-3 cups well flavored vegetable or mushroom stock
1/2 cup shelled peas, fresh
1 cup pea shoots
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine
1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed, sliced into fourths
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh herbs of your choice: tarragon and chives used here

First, boil 2 quarts of water in a large stock pot, toss in your brown rice, and cover, keeping it at a simmer for about 30 minutes. Drain.

Get your stock ready in a separate saucepan. Keep it heated on low.

Boil water in a small pot and blanch your fresh veggies for a few minutes, until all the greens are bright. Rinse in a colander under cold water, set aside.

Melt your butter in a large saute pan and toss in your rice. Press it into the bottom of the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. When you get a bit of brown on the rice pancake, turn the heat back to low and scrape the rice up, mixing it together. Add your wine (if using) and 1 ladle of stock, stir to incorporate. From here on out, it's a familiar drill - add stock, slowly watch it get absorbed, add more. When the rice is almost al dente, toss your fresh vegetables (not your greens!) in, and mix. After 2-3 minutes, add your cheese and any greens, plus your fresh herbs, stir well, and cover, removing from heat. Let it steam for about 5 minutes, then taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.

The process takes about 20-30 minutes from tossing your rice into the saute pan to finishing it with a dash of cheese, despite boiling it to soften first, but yay whole grains!

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