Saturday, February 11, 2017

Risotto with Brussels Sprouts

Risotto is one of those dishes you can cook while thinking of other things. Once you saute the Arborio rice, it's a matter of adding ladlefuls of hot stock as the rice cooks, enough time to ruminate. As the risotto cooks, it absorbs the flavors of anything you add to it. This time it's Brussel sprouts. And I try a two-pronged approach. Thinly slivered sprouts are sauteed with the rice. The rest of the sprouts are cut into wedges, roasted and lighlty pan fried till crisp brown. You may wonder why roasting and frying? Truth is, you could roast sprouts and use them right away. But I have a child who has to eat the sprouts extremely well cooked, or her stomach will go for a toss. These go in at the last minute so they can retain some of their crispness. In the end you a spoonful of creamy rice and crispy sprouts.

Serves 4

2 Shallots
4 Garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Thyme leaves 
2-3 Lemon peel strips
1 cup thinly sliced Brussels  Sprouts 
1 cup Brussels Sprouts wedges 
3 + 1 tablespoons Olive Oil 
3/4 cup Arborio Rice 
1/2 cup White Wine 
4-5 cups Chicken Stock
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
Several grinds of Black Pepper 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Cambazola Or Blue Cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons minced Parsely
2 tablespoons Lemon Zest

Heat oven to 400F.

Place Brussels sprouts wedges on a baking sheet. Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil over sprouts. Mix with your hands so sprouts are well coated. Bake for 20 minutes till crisp brown. Remove from oven. 

Peel shallots and garlic and mince finely.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan.

Add shallots and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes till shallot are soft.

Scatter thyme leaves and lemon strips over shallots.

Add slivered Brussels sprouts and saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add rice and stir for 3-4 minutes till rice is well coated with olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper.

Heat chicken stock to a low simmer.

Pour wine into rice. Let wine simmer till almost absorbed by the rice.

Add 1/2 cup hot chicken stock to rice. Stir rice well. When the stock dries up add more stock in 1/2 cup quantities. Keep doing this till the rice is cooked. Bite into a small grain to check. This should take about 20 minutes. Risotto should be soft and creamy.

Add Parmesan and Cambazola cheese to rice, along with parsley.

Lightly fry baked sprouts in a little olive oil. (Optional step. I like it as it lets sprouts crisp up and stay warm. And also the medicinal reason given above!) 

Garnish with fried Brussels sprouts and lemon zest.

Risotto is such a satisfying course. We pair it with white wine, chicken and a salad. Assertive lemon zest and crisp Brussels sprouts lend oomph to creamy rice. We do not have many leftovers. Such is the power of Italian rice and veggies.