Vegetarian Broccoli Risotto

Vegetarian Broccoli Risotto Recipe

I've already made several versions of risotto like the Asian Fusion Bamboo one or the more traditional cremini mushroom risotto. Today was a very cold and rainy day, so I decided to make another risotto. This version is risotto with broccoli, Lulu's favorite.  Broccoli pairs great with cheddar cheese, and is a great flavor and color accent to the risotto.  It's slightly upscale comfort food that your family will love.

Ingredients

Yields: 2

2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup fresh broccoli florets and stems
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup melon-seed-shaped pasta
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 1/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth, warm
1 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 Tbs garlic powder
1/3 cup aged yellow cheddar, shredded
2 Tbs parmesan cheese, + extra, to taste and for garnish
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 Tbs curly parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbs truffle butter


Directions

Wash the broccoli, then separate the florets from the stems.

In a pan filled with boiling water, add a tsp of oil. Blanch the broccoli stems first, cook for 3 minutes in boiling water then add the broccoli florets and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath. Drain, then dry thoroughly of all water, then pat dry on a paper towel. Roughly chop.

In a deep saucepan, get garlic cloves golden in oil. Transfer the cloves on a plate and set aside. In the same saucepan, add shallot, stir until light golden, then saute the broccoli for about 2 minutes to get a fragrant onion-y scent. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Remove from the heat and transfer to the same plate with the garlic cloves. Set aside.

In the same saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of butter and wait until it bubbles. Add the garlic until light golden, then add the pasta and rice. The butter should coat all the grains. Pour 1 cup of broth and stir constantly.

After bringing the liquid to a boil, add garlic powder and cheddar then lower the heat to medium low for about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and add the broccoli stems. Check the liquid and periodically add 1/4 cup of stock when all the liquid is absorbed.  Let simmer for another 15 minutes.

When rice is almost cooked, add the broccoli florets and parmesan cheese and truffle butter. Adjust seasonning with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle curly parsley and more parmesan before serving.

Bon appétit!


Tips

I think mixing melon seed shaped macaroni to the arborio rice brings a lot more starch. The most similar shaped pasta to arborio rice is the melon seed shaped one. I buy the Mexican brand, El Mexicano "Semillas". It is sold in a 7 oz pack.

Coating each grain in butter prevents them from sticking to one another.

You can also use chicken broth, which is actually the more standard way of preparing risotto. My hubby is a vegetarian so I use vegetable broth.

To get a cheesy flavor and yellow color without the stringy cheesy bits, add it right after boiling the broth.

Add the salt after the rice is slightly cooked to make sure the rice is tender.I also do the same when I boil regular pasta.

It's important to pour ladleful of warm stock. The key is to incremently pour the liquid and never let the dish dry out, it would burn the rice at the bottom.

For this dish, I used exactly 6 1/4 cups of broth. The quantity of liquid may vary depending on the heat of the stove and how long you're cooking the rice. At the end, I let it simmer uncovered, sometimes adding another 1/4 cup of liquid until I achieve the right consistency and level of doneness. I like the rice al dente, not all mushy.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 3, 2009.


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