Sunday, June 5, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

This recipe comes from The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook, where I had also gotten my delicious Brown Rice Risotto recipe.

I don't like pancetta, so I chose to fry two pieces of bacon, chop that, and add it in.  Though I don't find that it added much flavour to the recipe, so I think I'll just completely omit it next time.  I don't have the time to roast my own peppers to make this, so I use the huge jar of roasted red peppers that they sell at Costco.  As long as you make sure that your fork is clean each time you take out a pepper (which I finally learned, thanks to Heather!), the peppers will last in your fridge, open, for a super long time. We then use them in all sorts of things - I stir them into chicken salad sandwiches, chop them up to go in salads, etc.

The recipe suggests you soak the rice before cooking.  If you don't have time to do this, you can just add an additional 15 minutes to the indicated cooking time.  However, I find that the rice doesn't become as creamy if you don't presoak it, so it doesn't make for as nice of a risotto.

1 C short-grain brown rice
1 C water
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. diced pancetta, optional
1/2 tsp. sweet or hot paprika
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C dry white wine or additional stock
1 1/2 C reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 C diced roasted red peppers (about 2)
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  In a bowl, combine rice and water.  Stir well.  Cover and set aside for at least 3 hours or overnight.  Drain, reserving liquid.

2.  In a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds.  Add onion and panetta, if using, and cook, stirring, until onion softens, about 3 minutes.  Add paprika and black pepper and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add wine and cook, stirring until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.  Add stock and reserved soaking liquid and bring to a boil.  Stir in rice and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 35 minutes.

3.  Stir in red pepper.  Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

Tip:  For steps 2-3, I cook the onion in a pan in the olive oil and then throw everything else into my rice cooker and cook it in there.

Makes 6 servings.


Risotto with Cabbage: Substitute 2 C thinly shredded cabbage (preferably Savoy) for the roasted red peppers and 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves for the paprika.
Smoked Cheese Risotto: Omit pancetta, paprika and roasted red peppers.  Add 2 cloves minced garlic, along with the onion.  After the rice is tender (Step 3), stir in 1 C shredded smoked Gouda or mozzarella until melted, then add Parmesan.

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