Evening Exercise in Fast Cooking . Risotto's Savory Cousin

The fan club really likes risotto, but it is something that I do not make as often. I have three words to describe it. Rich, Rich and Rich.

The fan club also likes rice dishes. This gives gives us a way to get close to risotto without the excess triple digits of grams of fat and without having to listen to female litanies of expanding thighs and waistlines.  The addition of beans - make sure that they are al dente - adds the required dimension of creaminess to the dish that otherwise would have to come from starches, cream and melted cheeses.

One difference here with risotto is in the type of rice that I used. Arborio rice is a short grained rice from Italy that I grew up with . We've used it often as a pasta , and cooked it the same way. Traditional risottos use Canaroli rice, which is larger, and creamier and is usually slow cooked in some form of stock.

This dish is purely vegetarian. No chicken stock and butter.

Arborio Rice with Small Northern Beans , Swiss Chard and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Arborio Rice with Beans, Swiss Chard and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Preparation Notes

Rather simple to make. Just cook the rice separately and mix with the vegetable base.

Wash and very coarsely chop the green Swiss Chard.  Sautee in EVOO with some garlic, S/P . Add a bit of H20 to accelerate the cooking while cooking.It will help if you keep a lid on the pan. .  Add sliced sun dried tomatoes. Cook until the Chard is almost fully tender. This should take 10-15 minutes if cooking with a lid. Stir in the the beans. I used 3 cups of beans

Cook the Arborio rice in 2-3 quarts of salted water. Cook the rice  half way through. Remember to reserve a cup of the rice's starchy water. We will add to the final step . Partially drain the rice, leaving a small amount of water. Then add the rice to your pan and vegetables, Cook until the rice is al dente. Add some of the starch water if necessary to aid the cooking. Minimal amounts of stirring required. If you do so , you will risk breaking up the veggies. Serve piping hot with some grated pecorino cheese.

Keep warm my friends,  it's finally getting cold here in CT. Salute !

P.S. Stay tuned for my fancy Chicken Soup.


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