My great-grandparents were born in Italy so for as long as I can remember risotto has been a staple dish in our family. When my dad is the one cooking, which is the norm in my family, we have risotto at almost every gathering including holiday dinners. I even remember my dad making the Italian flag with his risotto one year by mixing tomato paste with a third of the batch and parsley with another third. I don’t remember who was at this particular dinner, how old I was, or what holiday we were even celebrating, but oh how I remember the Italian flag risotto. Clearly I was destined to somehow have food be a big part of my life.
But enough nostalgia for now… What I am really here to say is that I was slightly devastated when I first thought whole-grain risotto was impossible. You see, when we made the switch to “real food” I looked everywhere for brown Arborio rice to no avail. I even went almost a year without eating risotto (yikes!) until one day I saw a post from Deliciously Organic explaining that you can actually make risotto with just regular brown rice…it doesn’t have to be Arborio or anything special! You know how something can suddenly seem so simple when the information is presented to you like that. Plus this is such a great recipe to have in your dinner rotation because (similar to stir-fry) you can mix in almost anything you have on hand from veggies to seafood to meat in order to make it into a complete meal. And if you have some homemade chicken stock available for this recipe, too…then yum!!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups brown rice, quick cooking recommended
- ⅔ cup white wine
- 6 cups warm (or room temperature) chicken stock/broth, homemade recommended
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Suggested additions: roasted asparagus and proscuitto, shallots and mushrooms, spinach (cooked or raw), lima beans and bacon, cooked butternut squash, shellfish, rotisserie chicken, artichoke hearts, sautéed zucchini and yellow squash
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté for several minutes until soft (not brown).
- Add the minced garlic and brown rice. Stir for a couple minutes to coat rice with oil.
- Pour in the wine and let absorb completely, which will only take about a minute.
- Add chicken stock to the pan one ladleful at a time and stir frequently. When the stock is almost completely absorbed add the next ladleful and keep repeating until the rice is al dente (almost done). Keep a close eye on the rice and don’t forget to stir frequently during this process. It can take up to 20 or 30 minutes before the rice is done. If the rice is not the “quick cooking” variety it could take twice as long.
- When the rice is almost done add the last ladleful of stock (so you can serve it a little soupy), the parmesan cheese, salt & pepper to taste, and any other additions you’d like to include.
Serve warm and enjoy!