Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto

by - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Last weekend, I did something pretty reckless and wild. Something I haven’t done since I was a sophomore in college. Have I piqued your interest yet?
went to Trader Joe’s without a shopping list or even the faintest idea of what I should make this week.
For someone whose cardinal rule of life is to make a list, this was ca-razy. Or maybe a wakeup call that I need to get a grip. You tell me.
Lately, I’ve found myself in a bit of food rut. I felt like I was cooking + eating the same thing, over and over. I needed a clean slate, a creative jolt to wake up my apathetic palette.
Anyway, I was wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s waiting for inspiration to strike. I tossed some asparagus and leeks into my cart because a) I love asparagus and b) I’ve never used leeks before and figured, why not? In the pasta line, my eyes locked with a box of Arborio rice and it was game on. I was going to finally make risotto!
I’ve never made it and only ever had a couple bites of friends’ risottos at brunch and dinner but I remember it being pretty tasty and I was already practically livin’ la vida loca so I thought, “Let’s do it.” My entire inner monologue in the pasta/rice aisle of Trader Joe’s. Wish I was making this up, folks.
After perusing a variety of risotto recipes, I made some adjustments for simplicity and I must say, I’m pretty pleased with the results. Which is especially gratifying given my moments of self-doubt and worries that I was going to screw up this venture while setting off my overly-sensitive smoke detector and waking up my neighbors. Ah, the joys of tiny galley-kitchen culinary quests.
Okay, let’s get to it!
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
asparagus, approximately 10 spears but if you want more or less, not a big deal
1 leek, trimmed and cleaned
1 zucchini
1 tsp, chopped rosemary leaves
1 1/3 cup Arborio rice
1 tbsp, extra virgin olive oil
1 cup, chicken broth (you can substitute with vegetable broth)
1/2 cup, dry white wine
shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish
Spray cooking spray on a roasting pan.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Chop vegetables (I further sliced the zucchini into halves) and toss them along with the rosemary into the roasting pan. Toss with 1/4 cup or so of the broth.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes on 400 degrees until vegetables are tender. Stir every 10 minutes.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Now it’s time for the risotto!
So what exactly is risotto, anyway? It’s an Italian rice dish that at its simplest requires Arborio rice, broth, dry white wine and some parmesan cheese. But we’re going to get wild with summer vegetables. Better buckle up!
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and add Arborio rice. Stir continually for around 2-4 minutes.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Add the broth to the saucepan about 1/2 cup at a time. Wait until the rice has absorbed all the broth before adding more. Stir continuously so that the risotto will not burn (you’ll be stirring for about 25 minutes…sorry).
Side note: I had the brilliant idea to take this recipe for a spin right after my Pure Barre class. And all I could think about while standing there was how sore I was and how I had already done an arms workout that day. And after that workout, my arms felt like lead. Okay </whine>.
Between rounds of broth, I poured 1/2 cup of dry white wine into the mix. Because I was using the wine for cooking, I called on the ever-dashing Sir Two Buck Chuck de Sauvignon Blanc and he was more than up to the task!
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
At this point, your vegetables should be tender (test to see if a sharp knife goes easily through the zucchini) so take ‘em out of the oven to cool. And if you’re me, worry that all the heat will set off my diva smoke detector. It once went off when my chicken nuggets were still frozen. How rude!
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Once the Arborio rice has absorbed all of the broth, it should be cooked al dente. Add the vegetables in over low heat and toss until heated.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Toss shaved parmesan on top and you are all set! A delicious meal that brings the best flavors of summer into each bite, totally worth the time and the extra arms workout. Originally, I thought maybe I’d add lobster chunks but alas, Trader Joe’s was all out. Perhaps another time, Lobster.
Risotto is completely customizable so get creating! Do you have a particular vegetable or protein you like to add to your risotto?

Written by Lauren of DC Girl in Pearls

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