Sunday, June 19, 2011

Vegetable-Brown Rice Risotto

I wanted to experiment with making a brown rice risotto, but I knew that it would be difficult because it takes so much longer to break down the starches in brown rice, and hence you don't get creamy texture like you do with arborio rice. To help give it a creamy texture, I started with a vegetable pestata and added a lot more liquid that in a normal risotto. It was a lot of work and took a lot of patience, but the end result was creamy and super flavorful and yet incredibly healthy.

Makes 4-6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour

3 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 C sherry
4 C vegetable broth
2 C water
3-5 dried porcini mushrooms
1 C brown rice, rinsed
2 Tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
salt to taste

Combine the broth and water in a large saucepan and heat the liquid to keep it warm (but not simmering). Once warm, add the dried mushrooms and let steep for 25 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and chop finely.

Meanwhile, put the carrots and celery into a food processor and process to almost a paste. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pestata and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the rice and toast for a minute, stirring. Add the sherry and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed. Then add about 2 cups of the warm broth-water mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed (the rice will not be fully-cooked).

Now for the fun part: raise add a ladle or two of broth to the rice at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition until the rice absorbs almost all of the liquid. Repeat over and over again until the rice is fully cooked and gets a creamy texture. This takes a long time so you have to have a bit of patience. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if necessary (depends on the saltiness of your broth).

Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve and enjoy the low-fat vegetable-y goodness!

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