For the most part in Maine, there was an ‘eat what you want, when you want’ attitude. That suits me just fine, but Kim and I had been talking about making this risotto for months (literally) and we finally had the time while we were away. This was by far the longest we spent preparing any one meal, but it was totally worth it!
Kim is a great cook and a bit of a foodie, so anything that gets her endorsement (that I can eat!) I have to try. She’s taught me a lot over the past few years and pretty much any general cooking question I have goes right to her. She never lets me down (the brownies were a fluke…) and this risotto was no different.
First lesson: you must use arborio or sushi rice for risotto – those are your only choices. Brown rice, for example, won’t produce the thick and creamy consistency you want, so it has to be one of these. We used arborio.
Next, it’s important to note the water content and thickness of the vegetables you plan on adding. The tougher the veggie, the earlier it can go in during cooking. Lighter veggies like peas should go in closer to the end. We used a combination of chives, green onions, yellow squash, red pepper and peas.
The chives, green onions, yellow squash and red pepper all went in at the same time about a third of the way through, while the peas went in at the very end.
To start, heat a large pot and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. At the same time, heat up 2 quarts of veggie stock, bring to a boil, then turn off the pot but keep it on the burner. It will stay warm enough to use while making the risotto.
Once the pot and oil are hot, add 1 diced onion and 2 diced cloves of garlic. Let them get fragrant and then add two cups of rice.
You’ll see the rice starting to get translucent, give it about a minute or two, and then begin adding the veggie stock. The rule of thumb Kim gave me was 2 laddle-fulls at a time. Stir the rice and broth until the stock is absorbed. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times, and then add in the veggies that take the longest to cook.
Keep adding broth and mixing until the rice begins to thicken up. You may not have to use all 2 quarts of stock (we had leftover), but keep going until the rice gets really creamy and stays when you draw your spoon through the center of the pot.
We added the peas in at the very end just so they were able to heat through. Some people like their risotto with the veggies chopped as small as the rice, but we left them a bit bigger for some crunch.
Stop Light Risotto
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 cups arborio or sushi rice
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
1 cup peas
3 small or 2 medium yellow squash
1 bunch green onions
1/2 package or big handful of chives
In one pot, bring 2 quarts of vegetable stock to a boil and turn off heat, but leave on the burner. In a second, larger pot, heat 1-2 tablespoons oil and add chopped onion and garlic. Once the onion and garlic are fragrant, add 2 cups of rice. Let the rice cook a few minutes and then begin adding stock. Add 2 laddle-fulls of stock at a time, stiring until the stock is absorbed before adding the next 2 laddle-fulls. Add heartier vegetables that take longer to cook closing to the begining and save lighter and softer vegetables until the risotto is almost done. Keeping adding stock and stiring until the rice is thick and creamy and stays when you draw you spoon through the center of the pot.