Prep & Cook time: 40 minutes
Risotto is the most delicious thing. Its so creamy and is easily transformed into a light or heavy dish with surprising success. Which means you can basically put whatever you want in it. I sense that Risotto is seen as more of a comfort, cold-weather food, though I disagree. Paired with crisp vegetables and white meat, this is a killer summer meal. I usually plop a roasted or grilled chicken thigh right on top of a bowl of risotto. Top with some herbs de provence and voila! A fancy, delicious meal.
I hesitated between naming this dish garden vegetable risotto and french country risotto. In the end I settled with french country risotto because an italian risotto calls for different spices, and of course, some variation of an italian cheese. This dish is bursting with a different kind of flavor, specifically from the fresh thyme sprig and gruyere. Gruyere is so delicious it could save the worst of dishes. And it adds that perfect, creamy flavor that forms the heart of a risotto dish.
A word of caution – risotto is not amenable to multitasking. While the rice is simmering, you’ve got to be there by its side coaxing it through the creamy transformation. This part of the dish should take about 20 minutes. I like to put my wine to work while completing this task – part of it goes into the risotto and part of it goes into my glass!
1/4 C onion, chopped
4 green onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C carrot, diced
1/2 T butter
3/4 16 oz container of mushrooms, rough chopped
1 sprig thyme
3 C low sodium chicken broth
1 C water
1 1/4 C arborio rice
1 C white wine (plus some for sipping!)
1 C green beans, thawed
1/2 C peas, thawed
1/3 C gruyere cheese, shredded
1/4 C parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1. Using a large skillet or cast iron pan (I use my 3.5 qt le creuset pot), heat olive oil on the medium setting. Add onion and green onions. Cook until translucent and softened, add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
2. Pour chicken stock and water into a small sauce pot and heat until its simmering. Keep the liquid at a simmer throughout the cooking process.
3. Add butter and carrots. I usually don’t cook with butter, but cooking carrots is one of the rare circumstances in which I do it. I find it very difficult to cook the carrot to softness using olive oil. Which is how we find ourselves here. Once the carrots have fully cooked, about 6-8 minutes, add mushrooms and thyme.
4. Mix in arborio rice and allow to cook for one minute. Then add wine. The wine will immediately start boiling upon contact. This is called deglazing, and you should take this opportunity to scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon so that all that deliciousness can come up and join the substance of the dish. Cook until the wine has evaporated.
5. If you choose to use fresh green beans and peas, now would be the time to blanch them.
6. Add chicken broth mixture to the rice mixture one ladle-full at a time. Stir near-constantly, until the liquid has evaporated. Then add another ladle. Continue to do this until all but 1 ladle of broth has been added. It should take about 20 minutes.
7. Add peas and green beans. Add the last ladle of broth and continue to stir constantly, until the chicken stock has evaporated.
8. Stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste (the dish usually needs at least 1-2 tsp of salt, if not more).
Hungry for more great recipes? Explore more Lawyer in the Kitchen!