Weeknight Risotto, er "Rice Stew" - FamilyEducation

Weeknight Risotto, er "Rice Stew"

March 16,2011
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Risotto may not scream “easy weeknight meal” to you, since risotto is usually associated with lots of time stirring, and stirring, and stirring the risotto, but this doesn’t always have to be the case.  In fact if you have to be in the kitchen anyway, a few occasional stirs as you set the table and prepare the rest of the meal, and your dinner will be ready in no time.

For some reason, the first time I made risotto, my boys got rubbed the wrong way with the word “risotto,” and despite loving rice of all types, decided they didn’t like this new-fangled dish, risotto.  So the most recent time I made this recipe, I called it “rice stew,” and their opposition disappeared.  It was the clearest case I’ve ever seen of the importance of marketing your food to your kids.  Instead of picking at his dish, R ate two huge bowls.

One last word to the wise:  I try and sneak in whole grains whenever I am able, so when I saw “brown Arborio rice” at the grocery store, a whole wheat version of the traditional risotto rice, I put some in my cart.  Holy slow…it took more than an hour and a half of stirring and adding liquid until the risotto was ready, more than 3 times the usual time.  In hindsight, it makes sense since brown rice takes far more time to boil than white, so if you want to make this on a weeknight, stick with the white version of Arborio and make a mental note to get some extra whole grains during another meal.

Weeknight Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion diced,
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
¼ cup white wine (or more broth)
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups diced butternut squash, steamed
¼ cup red onion, diced (optional)

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion, cook 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add the rice.  Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring to make sure you coat the rice with the oil.  Add the wine (or broth) and stir 1-2 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the broth in a microwave safe dish for 2 minutes to warm it (if you warm the broth, it won’t “cool” the risotto cooking each time you add it to the dish.  In turn, the risotto will cook more quickly).

Add one cup of the broth to the rice.  Stir a few times, and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Stir every few minutes, and once the broth has been absorbed by the rice, add another cup of broth.  Repeat until all the broth has been added and the rice is al dente.

Remove from heat.  Add the salt, pepper, sour cream, cheese and peas.  Stir well until everything is fully incorporated.  

Serve with butternut squash and red onion, if using.

Serves 4.

SPC