Sunday, February 6, 2011

Recipe Box: Risotto!

Risotto has become a lover of mine, thanks to Food Network and shows like Top Chef. We've been enjoying our relationship greatly!

Some history on risotto:

File:Reis Arborio.JPGRisotto is made of arborio rice. Arborio rice comes from Italy and is a short-grain rice. (Photo credit to Wikipedia)

Mixed with broth, wine, and your favorite vegetables and protein, it makes risotto. The best description I have for the taste of risotto - it's like eating overcooked, mushy rice. Total comfort food, except without all the processed junk. Making risotto requires a lot of stirring which releases it's natural starches. This helps the dish taste creamy without actually adding any cream. It's also slightly lower on the glycemix index than white rice so that is another plus for diabetics.

I've made a few risottos: butternut squash risotto, spinach and mushroom risotto, flounder (wild-caught, of course) risotto with a lobster stock and most recently, a swiss chard and (get ready!) organic roasted red-pepper chicken sausage one (now that was a mouth full).

I sliced the casing off the sausages because of a recent show I saw on how casing was made (I won't get too detailed but you get intestines if you're going organic, and cellulose or plastic if you don't go organic) so it was more of ground chicken sausage with swiss chard. Let me tell you, to. die. for. YUM!

Two things to remember about risotto: stir like your life depends on it and keep adding stock because that is what cooks the rice.

After slicing the casing off the sausages, I browned them in EVOO. I separately blanched the swiss chard and kept it on the side. Toasted the arborio rice in the pan and then added half a cup at a time of organic chicken broth until the stock was absorbed.

I didn't use wine in my recipe but lots of folks substitute half a cup of stock with half a cup of white wine. It usually takes about six cups of broth to really get the rice to the right consistency - firm, yet if you put it on a plate, it should spread (thanks, Top Chef for that tip!). Once I got to about the fifth cup, I added in the swiss chard. Here's a picture of the homestrech:

Add Parmesan conservatively. I never go by how much a recipe says to add because it's always too much. Don't be afraid to change a recipe based on your taste buds!

And voila, dinner is served. You have your carb, your vegetable and your protein all in one pan. No fuss, no muss!

Happy and healthy eating to all,
Mama A

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