Tag Archives: risotto

Hands-Free (Almost) Risotto

If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I love risotto. I tend to turn this side dish into the star by adding vegetables and protein for a one-dish meal. Is risotto versatile and kid-friendly? Absolutely. Is it easy to make when you are home alone with a three year old and an infant? Not so much.

The problem with risotto is that you have to stir it, constantly, for about 30 minutes while you gradually add small amounts of warmed broth. So if the baby spits up everywhere or your preschooler yells from the bathroom that she needs you … well, you (or more aptly, your dinner) are screwed.

So when Kenji Lopez-Alt wrote in Cooking Light how he makes the creamiest risotto (and it doesn’t involve constant stirring), I was all over it.

It all starts by rinsing the rice. Mix together the broth and wine and add the rice, agitating to loosen the starchy coating on the grains. When you strain the rice out, you’re left with a liquid that’s already infused with the essential starch that makes risotto thick and creamy.

Toast the rice with some garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, just as you normally would. But instead of adding a small amount of the liquid and stirring until it absorbs, you add almost all of the broth (saving one cup for the end), bring it to a boil, give everything a quick stir, and cover. Then you cook it for 20 minutes, stirring just once halfway through. Add the final cup of broth at the end with a touch of cream and Parmesan cheese. That’s it.

I was skeptical that this easier method could yield the same quality risotto that I was used to getting with the more tedious approach. I am thrilled to report that I am now able to balance babies and risotto because this method ROCKS!


Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

It’s no secret that I love risotto. I’ve posted recipes before for Kale and Bacon Risotto and Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Asparagus Risotto. One of the things I like most about this rice dish is that, by changing out the mix-ins, you can completely change the meal for each season. For this Mushroom Asparagus Risotto, I used spring veggies and chicken to make it a one-dish meal. The best part is, I haven’t found a risotto recipe my daughter won’t eat!

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

1 1/3 cup uncooked arborio rice
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
2 medium chicken breasts
1 cup frozen peas
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
½ cup Parmesan cheese

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook to 170°, turning occasionally. Set the chicken aside to rest and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

2. In another sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus and cook for a few minutes before adding peas and mushrooms. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until veggies are tender. Set aside.

3. Heat broth in a small sauce pan over low heat.

4. In a deep sauté pan or dutch oven, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add rice and stir for about 2 minutes.

5. Add in 1 cup of broth and stir continually until the liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in remaining broth ½ cup at a time, stirring continually each time until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ½ cup.

6. Once the rice is cooked and the broth is gone, stir in vegetables, chicken, cheese, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to heat everything through and then serve immediately.

Kale and Bacon Risotto

Given that my family LOVED my Garlic Lemon Kale Pasta and kale is so good for you, I decided to experiment with another tasty kale recipe.

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes, and it’s really not difficult to make (you just have to stir it constantly, which means it’s not the dish to make when you’re home alone with the kids). But if your other half is available to run interference on the little ones, this dish is a great way to get a super healthy veggie into your kids’ tummies. Olivia ate her entire helping AND polished off the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Kale and Bacon Risotto

1 1/3 cups uncooked arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, cleaned, de-stemmed, and rough chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper
5 slices of bacon
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon until just crispy; crumble and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, drizzle a tbsp of olive oil and add the kale. Cook, stirring frequently, until the kale is tender; add the crushed red pepper, mix well, and then pour into a bowl to set aside.

Heat the chicken broth over low heat in a small saucepan.

In your sauté pan, add the rest of the olive oil and the garlic. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for just a minute, and then add the rice. Cook the rice for 1-2 minutes, and then ladle in 1 cup of the broth and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add the rest of the broth 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until the liquid in the pan has been absorbed before adding more. Be sure to stir constantly while the rice is cooking.

When all of the broth has been added and absorbed, stir in the kale, bacon, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Remove the risotto from the heat and serve immediately.


Butternut Squash, Chicken, & Asparagus Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that you think is really difficult to make until you actually do. Sure, it can be time consuming, and you do have to stir it constantly, but I definitely wouldn’t call it difficult. Once I got the hang of making risotto, I started making every variation you can imagine with whatever I had on hand. The other day, I happened to have squash, chicken and asparagus on hand, so voilà!

I had roasted a chicken and the squash the day before, so they were both ready and waiting for me when I got home from work, which was a big time saver. You could also use the rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or just quickly sauté a couple of chicken breasts before preparing the rest of the dish. I prefer roasting the squash in the oven because it allows it to caramelize, but I’ve also microwaved it in a pinch (about 8 minutes or so for a full squash).

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Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Asparagus Risotto

1.5 cups uncooked arborio rice

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

4.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

10-12 stalks of asparagus, trimmed

Half of a medium butternut squash

2 cups of shredded, cooked chicken

2 tsp thyme

2 tsp rosemary

1 tsp sage

salt and pepper (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°. Place squash on a cookie sheet and roast for 40 minutes or until it is fork-tender. Allow the squash to cool and then remove the skin, cut the squash into cubes, and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the asparagus and toss until cooked through. Remove the asparagus, allow to cool slightly, and then cut into 1-inch pieces.

In a medium saucepan, heat the broth over low heat. Put the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil into the sauté pan you used for the asparagus over medium heat and add the garlic. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes. Ladle in 1 cup of the broth and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add the rest of the broth 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until the liquid in the pan has been absorbed before adding more. Be sure to stir constantly while the rice is cooking. When you are almost out of broth, add the thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper and continue cooking until you have added all of the broth. Add the squash, asparagus and chicken and stir to fully incorporate.

This is a great one-dish meal, and it makes enough for 2 adults and a toddler with leftovers for lunch the next day!