Friday, July 29, 2011

Double Take: Risotto Primavera

Risotto Primavera

I'm somewhat of a newbie to risotto. I'd never had it before last spring. Rebecca, Ruthann and I made one with zucchini, another with green beans and a third with butternut squash. We didn't do this all in one night but we were really enjoying risotto. The zucchini from Bon Appetite: Fast, Easy, Fresh was our favorite. Its a great dish if you have a few people to feed and can send leftovers home with them.

The various vegetable combinations can really transform the veggies from the norm of steaming or sauteing. As an added bonus, I've heard that non-meatitarian families eat risotto as an meatless main for supper. If you want to go completely vegetarian you can use vegetable broth (slight shudder). I'm not a big veggie broth gal but I know there are people who are. To you I say, awesome and if you have a veggie broth you love, let me know. I'd be willing to try it.

It does take a little longer to prepare but most of the time isn't hands on time. You can walk away for a couple minutes to tend another dish and then return to stir and add a little more broth. For people who love to stir a pot, this is your dish! For people who like to walk away for a minute or two and come back, this dish works for you too! How often does that happen?

There are a few things you should know before attempting a risotto recipe.

1. What's Risotto? - a dish prepared with short to medium grained rice cooked with a broth (vegetable or meat) and finished with Parmesan cheese

2. What's Primavera? - served with a variety of fresh vegetables (This can include an oil sauce or white sauce but the only key ingredient is fresh vegetables.)

3. What's Arborio rice? - common rice for making risotto but any short to medium grain rice will do. This rice absorbs lots of fluid without becoming mushy. Look for Arborio rice at Whole Foods and you'll typically get a better price than at a supermarket. Its also available by the scoop at Whole Foods.

4. If you live by yourself, DO NOT MAKE A WHOLE RECIPE. It grows.

5. If using a stock/broth that has salt in it, don't add any extra salt until you've tasted it. It is likely that the stock will have more than enough salt.

6. Are you wondering why the recipe would call for both olive oil and butter? The olive oil can take more heat but the butter gives more flavor. Using them together allows maximum heat and flavor at once!


I loved this risotto but after eating it four times, I started getting tired of it. See #5. I tried adding other herbs and even made risotto cakes to help finish it off. Risotto cakes are made by simply making a ball of risotto in your hands (1-2" diameter) and flattening it into a thick patty. Roll the patty in panko or Italian breadcrumbs. (I tried and liked both.) Pan fry in 1 Tbsp oil until crumbs are browned. Try them alone or with a dollop of salsa! I encourage you to halve the risotto recipe if you only have 1-2 people eating it. I served this recipe with Garlic Rosemary Chicken.

Risotto Cakes from Leftover Risotto.
 Add a dollop of salsa for some extra zing!

Risotto Primavera (adapted from Pioneer Woman)

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes.
Total Time: ~ 1 hour

Servings: 8-10


5 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 whole Large Yellow Onion Finely Diced
3 whole Carrots, Peeled And Finely Diced
1 cup Broccoli Pieces
1 whole Zucchini, Peeled and Finely Diced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (additional)
1 Tablespoon Butter (additional)
1-1/2 cup Arborio Rice
1-1/2 cup Dry White Wine, can sub white grape juice
4 whole Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
1/2 cup Frozen or Fresh Peas
1/2 c. Feta cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Optional Vegetables To Substitute For Any Of The Above: Mushrooms, Red Bell Pepper, Yellow Squash, Asparagus Pieces, Cauliflower

How To:

Pour chicken broth into a small saucepan. Heat to a simmer.

In a large Dutch oven or saucepot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add diced onions and diced carrots. Stir and cook for a minute or two. . Add broccoli and cook for 30 seconds. Add zucchini and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove from pan and put on a plate. Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the same pan. Heat over medium-low heat. Add rice and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add half the wine.

Stir and cook until liquid is absorbed. Over the next 30 to 45 minutes, add 1 cup of simmering broth at a time, stirring and cooking until each addition of broth has absorbed. Add other half of wine and cook until absorbed. Add green onions and peas, stirring to combine.

Taste to make sure rice is the right texture (not chewy or crunchy but soft and moist); add another helping of broth if rice has too much crunchy/chewy texture to it. Check salt content and add salt if necessary.

Once rice is cooked, remove from heat. Stir in Feta, Parmesan, and vegetables until all Feta is combined.

Feel free to toss on a little rosemary or fresh basil at the end to change up the flavor.

I served the risotto primavera with garlic rosemary chicken. Yum!

Be sure to stop by Fabulously Fun Food to see what Mel thought of Risotto Primavera!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know what to make for dinner last night. Once I read your post, it was decided: risotto!