Spring Risotto with Leeks, Peppers & Arugula

You will find this recipe is not your traditional way of making risotto. I’ve tried the authentic Italian way of making risotto, and let me tell you, it’s a time consuming recipe.  Every time I have followed a risotto recipe I have had to stand over the stove and stir the risotto rice with broth in batches until the rice is cooked. This takes at least 30 – 45 minutes. 45 minutes of standing and stirring, sometimes even longer. I started to dread making risotto when the kids wanted it.

Then one day I decided to try an alternative way of making risotto. I wondered how is it that in restaurants risotto is at our table within minutes. It occurred to me that they must cook the Arborio rice in advance, and just add the veggies or seafood when we order.  I thought let me give that a try.

The next time I made risotto, I cooked the Arborio rice in broth in a pressure cooker – no stirring involved. Then when I was ready to make my risotto, in a separate pot I sautéed vegetables and just added them to the already cooked Arborio rice and mixed it all together.  The risotto turned out awesome. Because the rice is already cooked, the whole process of making risotto goes by much faster. Try my recipe for a quicker vegetable risotto and see if you like it as much as I do.

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Risotto with Leeks, Peppers, & Arugula
makes 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 carton vegetable broth or 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 10 small peppers finely chopped – 2 cups
  • 4 stalks leeks, greens removed and white parts finely chopped
  • 4 cups arugula or chopped spinach
  • 6-8 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1-cup Parmesan cheese or asiago finely grated

Directions:

Pre-cook Arborio rice in 4 cups broth plus 1 cup water in a pressure cooker.  If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can cook Arborio rice on the stove with broth like you would regular rice until arborio rice is cooked al-dente. Set aside.

While the rice is cooking start sautéing the vegetables. In a pan, sauté garlic, leeks, and peppers in 2 tbsp olive oil until vegetables are tender. Add thyme and pepper to taste.

Now add cooked Arborio rice to the vegetables and mix in. Add salt and then start adding remainder 2 cups vegetable broth in 1/2-cup increments. As the broth gets absorbed add more broth, and cook Arborio rice until creamy – about 10 minutes.

Next add arugula or spinach and cook for 2 minutes until greens are wilted. Add Parmesan cheese and mix-in. Risotto is ready.

Taste test. If you want your rice more creamy, continue adding water or broth in 1/2-cup increments and cook rice until it’s creamy enough to your liking.  Serve risotto with extra black pepper and Parmesan shavings.

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Cook’s notes:  Risotto tastes best when you make it and have it right away. To add more tang to the risotto, substitute 1 cup broth with 1-cup white wine.

 

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