Risotto. A labor of love, the cause of countless Top Chef eliminations and a delicious yet calorie-laden meal.
That is, until now.
Okay, while there’s no getting around the time commitment risotto takes or the inevitable fact that even Top Chef contestants like the smug Miss “I can cook risotto, I learned how to cook in Italy!” will screw up risotto, there is a way to create a light yet great-tasting risotto.
Kyle’s appreciation for a beautifully-cooked risotto formed in the kitchen of Oakley’s Bistro during a “Chef for a Day” stint where he worked side-by-side with the talented team, helping them prep for that evening’s dinner. There’s a fine line between al dente and undercooked, and Kyle learned that plus many other tips that have given us mouthful after mouthful of amazing risotto over the years.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light. It’s just 383 calories per serving and makes 4 servings. Since we like to cook on Sundays for the week, we doubled the recipe.
• 1 ¾ water (we substituted vegetable broth to add more flavor)
• 2 (14 ½ ounce cans vegetable broth)
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 cup uncooked Arborio or other short-grain rice
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional, but we used it)
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 cup thinly sliced green onions (approximately 1 bunch of green onions)
• ¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalepeno peppers
• ¼ to ½ teaspoon hot sauce (we used ½ teaspoon of Louisiana Hot Sauce)
• 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, defrosted
• ¾ cup chopped roasted red peppers (we used 2 red peppers)
What to note before tackling the recipe:
• While you can purchase bottled roasted red peppers, you’ll get a much fresher flavor if you roast your own red peppers.
• Use a good wooden spoon for stirring the risotto. Ours is broad and flat (like this one, which lets you make a lot of contact with the bottom of the pan to ensure you’re not burning the bottom half of the risotto.
• Resist the urge to crank up the heat to finish the risotto faster. Low heat is the way to go, as you want to give the rice time to release its starch.
Roast the red peppers by rubbing them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and placing on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until soft and skin is blackened. Place the peppers in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove the skin and seeds and chop evenly. (This is the same method we used in our Roasted Yellow Pepper Grits.)
While the peppers are roasting, pour the broth (and water if you choose to use it) in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Dice onions, grate the cheese (if you didn’t purchase it already shredded) and mince the garlic.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add rice, cumin coriander and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute and turn heat down to low. Stir in ½ cup broth, cook 2 minutes, or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed.
Stir in the onions, cheese, hot sauce, corn and roasted red peppers. Cook 3 minutes or until heated.