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January 9, 2013

A healthier take on weeknight-friendly risotto

A healthier take on weeknight-friendly risotto

I’m always searching for ways to make a healthier version of risotto, one of my favorite winter Italian dishes.

Risotto traditionally is made with starchy white rice. That starch is essential to producing a creamy, thick risotto. But I wanted a whole-grain version. Trouble is, brown rice doesn’t release nearly as much starch during cooking, so substituting it often produces risotto that is thin and uninspiring.

It took me a few attempts, but I eventually figured out how to have my whole grains and my thick and creamy risotto. And it was simple. I just needed to add starch.

Once I had that down, then I needed to add flavor. For this recipe, I came up with two variations, one with Brussels sprouts and apple, another with asparagus and tomatoes. Both are incredibly delicious.

CREAMY BROWN RICE RISOTTO

TWO WAYS (WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND APPLE OR

ASPARAGUS AND TOMATOES)

Start to finish: 40 minutes (20 minutes active)

Servings: 4

1 cup short grain brown rice (or brown sushi rice)

2 cups water

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

3 ounces prosciutto, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered AND 1 firm tart apple, peeled and diced

OR

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces AND 1/2 cup oil-packed sliced sun-dried tomatoes (drained)

1/2 cup white wine

11/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, room temperature

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Purchased balsamic glaze, to serve

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, leaving it covered. The rice will not be completely cooked and there will be some water in the pan. Set aside.

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