Vegetable Risotto

Serves 4 to 6

In case I haven’t mentioned it before, risotto is one of the most versatile dishes that you can make. The main ingredients (onion, rice, broth, parmesan cheese and olive oil) always stay the same, but the type of risotto can shift to match what’s available in your garden, refrigerator or pantry. A true Italian risotto is always made with Arborio, Vialone or Carnaroli rice, but I substitute short-grain brown rice as a healthier alternative. The recipe remains the same, but you’ll need more time and liquid when cooking brown rice in order to make sure the rice is cooked through.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (a leek also works well here, if that’s what you have available)
2 cups risotto rice
½ cup dry white wine
4-6 cups water (or broth for a more intense flavor)
3 cups chopped mixed vegetable such as carrots, celery, radishes, zucchini, celeriac, etc.
2 oz fresh Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

In a wide sauté pan heat olive oil (and butter, if using).Finely dice one onion and sauté while stirring in oil until tender.
Add vegetables and sauté, continuing to stir until nicely toasted.
Add rice, continuing to stir while toasting in the onion mixture.  Rice will become glassy, about 5 minutes.
Add white wine and let it absorb for about 5 minutes.
Add broth bit by bit or – to save time – in two batches while stirring over low-medium heat, about 12 minutes. When the rice still has some bite to it, i.e., “al dente”, take pan from stove.
Add a teaspoon of butter (or cream) if you’d like the rice very creamy. Adding some olive oil is a healthy substitute.
Add the Parmesan and adjust seasoning.
Leftovers can be reheated by adding a little water.

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