Saturday, January 9, 2010


One of my new favorite foods is Risotto. It is tasty, versatile, and relatively easy to make. It goes well as a side dish for almost anything and can be made to be pretty healthy. I am listing three different recipes, a fancy risotto, a fun risotto, and one that is super easy and cheap. Traditionally making risotto requires both wine and parmesan cheese, so in that since only the first recipe is a true risotto, but the other two are made in the same way and taste just as good to me but are simpler and require less ingredients.

First, the fancy risotto... recipe courtesy Giada de Laurentiis. I made this with my friend Bethany, again using her Tanzanian vanilla bean, and we had some of our friends over and none of it was left by the end of the night- that's how good it is.

Vanilla Butternut Squash Risotto
4 cups vegetable broth
1 large vanilla bean
3 cups peeled, cubed (i-inch wide) butternut squash (12 oz)
2 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance), plus 1 tablespoon
3/4 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 red onion or 1/2 vidalia onion)
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dairy free cheese of choice *optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives (optional)
In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat and cut the vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape the seeds from the bean into the broth and then add the bean to the broth as well. When it comes to a simmer, reduce heat to low and add the squash cooking until tender (about 5 minutes), then remove into a side dish. Reduce the heat to very low and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, add onion and saute until tender but not brown ( 3 minutes). Add rice and stir to coat, then add wine and simmer until almost evaporated (3 minutes). Add a half a cup of the heated broth at a time, until absorbed (2 minutes). Once the last of the broth is absorbed test rice and if it is no yet tender add water and continue process until the rice is tender.

Once ready, remove the bean and toss in the squash, cheese if desired, salt, 1 tablespoon butter, and optional chives.
Now, it's time for the fun risotto. It is served in a hollowed out lemon cup. It is really cute and would be good served at a luncheon or a light summer meal. Serving in the lemon cup also helps with portion control for all of you out there who are trying to keep New Year's resolutions. This recipe is also from Giada, but simplified and made healthier by leaving out the cheeses.

Risotto in a Lemon Cup
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 large shallot, diced
3 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 a lemon, zested and juiced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
6 lemons, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth and 1/2 up water to a simmer, cover, and keep hot over low heat.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add shallot and saute until tender but not brown (about 3 minutes). Add the rice and stir to thoroughly coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated (3 minutes). Then add 1/2 cup broth at a time adding water and continuing if necessary, just like the process used in the previous risotto.

When done, stir in remaining butter, lemon juice, and zest, salt, and pepper.

To serve, cut 1/4 inch off of the bottom of each lemon so that they stand on their own. Then, cut i inch off of the top of each and scoop out the flesh. Fill each hollowed lemon with about 1/2 cup risotto.
Last Risotto... This is the easiest risotto. It doesn't require wine and the ingredients are simple and cheap, yet it tastes just as good in my opinion. You can also change this recipe around easily to fit your tastes. You can substitute the vegetable broth with chicken broth or switch up the vegetables you use. I have added broccoli and that worked as well. I have also heard that you can do this in a rice cooker as well if you don't want to watch the pot. I have not tried it but if anyone does, let me know how it works out.

Simple Asparagus Risotto
1 tablespoon vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
3/4 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch long lengths
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable broth
salt, to taste
Heat broth in a saucepan, covering to keep warm over low heat.

In a separate pan, melt butter add onions on medium-low heat. Cook 4 minutes, then add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add rice and stir until well coated. Ad 1/2 cup broth, stirring until absorbed. Add asparagus.

Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, till absorbed each time (20-25 minutes). Add water and continue process as necessary. Add salt to taste.
*This post was edited on 12/12/10 to make it gluten and dairy free.

1 comment:

  1. Yumm! I just made the Butternut Squash Risotto again for dinner last night, -except I added in chopped and sauteed portabello mushrooms at the end.