Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last Day of Summer/First Day of Fall Risotto

This post is less of a recipe, and more of an adventure (although I will provide the recipe because it was a freaking delicious adventure). Yesterday afternoon I turned to my new Bon Appétit for dinner ideas. It is just starting to turn cool here in California, by which I mean a sunny 70 degrees. So I was longing for a dish that was cozy and warm, but something that would honor the last day of summer as well. A tall order for dinner. Fortunately, I happened to find it on page 20 of my magazine: Lemon Risotto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. Now, they recommend that you lay roasted lamb shanks over the top, but I didn’t feel that was necessary. 

To give it a little oomph (as well as some fiber), I decided to substitute brown rice. Let me say that I have never made risotto with brown rice before, but I’ve made it with Arborio rice dozens of times; how hard could it be? Famous last words. (Fear not, dear readers, this story ends very well) I followed all my standard practices, but I forgot to account for the fact that brown rice cooks much slower than the white variety. I was starting to get hungry, read: cranky, and losing patience with my risotto, when Technology came to the rescue in the form of a pressure cooker. Nine minutes later, and I had dinner. Unfortunately, this means that I cannot give you accurate timing for the brown rice version. My guess is that it will take about an hour to cook completely, meaning the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. To complete this comedy of errors, I was so distracted by the culinary drama that I forgot a major ingredient, arugula. As you can see, the situation was rectified, and it made this spectacular dish even better. Make this immediately. Your mouth will thank you. 

Lemon Risotto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

1 package cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth
½ onion chopped
2 cups rice (Arborio or short grain brown)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 cup white wine
5 cups arugula
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons parsley chopped
1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
½ teaspoon lemon peel finely grated

Heat oven to 350º. Place tomatoes on a covered baking sheet. Cover with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper, and make sure all tomatoes are coated. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until skins begin to pucker. Set aside until risotto is cooked.

Pour broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large pot on medium and sauté the onion until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Add rice and stir, coating with oil, for one minute. Add wine and continue stirring. When wine is almost absorbed, begin adding broth. Begin with 2 cups, then in 1 cup increments. Continue adding broth as it becomes absorbed, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender. This will take about 25 minutes for Arborio rice, and (presumably) 1 hour for brown rice. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, arugula, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and lemon peel. Serve immediately.

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