Kale Risotto Recipe

Kale Risotto Recipe Recipe

My husband Lulu has been traveling nonstop for his work these days. I haven't cooked for him in so long.  He flew back from Dallas last night, so I thought I'd surprise him with one of his favorite meals: risotto. This rice dish is so versatile that there are always new opportunities for creativity; this time I flavored it with kale and sweet basil leaves. I also added sharp Cheddar and Pecorino cheese and a touch of heavy cream at the end.

Lulu's flight got delayed and he ended coming home really late. So I packed it for him this morning. Hopefully his schedule won't be too busy during lunch time and he'll be able to enjoy it today!


Yields: 6 servings

6 ounces baby kale leaves
¼ cup fresh sweet basil leaves, loosely packed
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
¾ cup Vialone Nano rice (see tips)
½ cup melon-seed-shaped pasta (or orzo)
5 cup warm vegetable broth, as needed
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly cracked
2 tablespoons sharp Cheddar cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons Pecorino cheese, freshly grated
¼ cup cream


In a large, deep pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil. When it's hot, add the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute. Keep the temperature at a high heat. Add the shallots and cook until fragrant and tender. Then add the rice and pasta to the pan. Make sure that each grain is coated with oil. Stir until light translucent. Add 3 cups of warm broth. Stir constantly.

After bringing the liquid to a boil, add the Cheddar and Pecorino cheeses and lower the heat to medium-low; cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Check the liquid and periodically add ½ cup to 1 cup of broth (and water if all the broth is used) when all the previous liquid is absorbed. Let simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

Wash the kale and basil thoroughly in a large bowl of water in several water baths. Drain, then remove all the excess water using a salad spinner. Roughly chop all the leaves.

When the rice is almost cooked. Add the kale and ½ cup warm water. Stir well. Check the seasoning and add salt (if necessary) and pepper. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.

When the rice is ready to be served, add the basil. Check the seasoning one more time and add salt (if necessary) and pepper. Drizzle with cream. Stir well. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Serve warm.

Bon appétit!


There are many varieties of high-starch rice such as Carnaroli, Baldo or Arborio rice but the latter is probably the most common kind for making risotto.

In my opinion, mixing macaroni pasta with the 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's sold in a 7-ounce package.

It's important to keep adding warm stock as the rice cooks. The key is to add the liquid incrementally and never let the dish dry out, or the rice at the bottom will burn.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 30, 2014.


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