Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chard stuffed with risotto

I found this to be a bit labor-intensive, made entirely from scratch--but if you have some leftover risotto, this is a great thing to do with it.

However, the real take-away on this recipe is the risotto itself. More on that in a moment.

To make the stuffed chard, take six or eight big leaves and poach them for a few seconds in broth. Place a ball of risotto, and maybe a chunk of cheese, in the middle of each one and wrap the leaf around the ball. Pack tightly in a casserole dish and pour a little broth in the bottom. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

But the risotto recipe was actually more useful. It included saffron dissolved in lemon juice, and made what would have been a plain risotto a very light, summery, citrusy risotto.

Take a small chopped onion and saute in olive oil or butter until translucent over medium heat. Add one cup of arborio rice and cook for another minute. Add broth (chicken or vegetable) a little at a time, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is done (20 minutes or so). Dissolve a pinch of saffron (or turmeric if you don't have saffron) into the juice of one lemon and add that to the rice, along with a handful of grated parmesan, a couple tablespoons of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. At this point you should have a creamy mass. Eat.

While arborio rice is more expensive than the other kinds, risotto is one of those dishes that can be whipped up in under half an hour and makes a wonderfully decadent, rich dinner for very little money. And you can incorporate whatever leftovers you have--greens, herbs, cheese, tomatoes, chicken, seafood, frozen peas, roasted squash or pumpkin, the list goes on and on. Use the above recipe as a basis (perhaps without the lemon juice) and throw in whatever else you've got. One cup of arborio rice plus additions usually equals at least three adult servings as a full meal.

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