EASY WINTER VEGETABLE RISOTTO

I don't usually tend make too many pure vegetarian dishes but lately I have craved winter vegetables. You heard right craved! Since I am expecting and I am a few months in I have noticed a huge change in the way I eat. I don't tend to favour meat all that much lately (shocking as that may sound), so I am re-teaching myself to cook so that I can bring out the most flavour in the foods I like to eat. This easy winter risotto turned out to be a real hit with me. I honestly ate the whole bowl and had a huge smile on my face while I took bite after bite. This is quite a filling dish that warms the soul. You really appreciate all the flavours that vegetables bring to a dish. You can really feel good about eating this.

Adapted and modified from the "Easy Garden Risotto" recipe in the Canadian Living: Cooks Step by Step Cookbook (1999). Written by: Daphna Rabinovitch

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb carrots, diced
  • 2 cups arborio rice or Italian short-grain rice
  • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 lb asparagus, cut into thirds
  • 1 zucchini, cut into half moons
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter, cubed

1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the chopped onions, garlic and carrots, stirring occasionally for a good 7-10 minutes. Stir in the rice and coat the rice with the mixture, then pour in half of the stock. Bring the pan up to a boil, stirring often.

2. Reduce the heat to low; stir in the diced tomatoes, and simmer for 15 minutes. You want the tomatoes to breakdown and create a light red sauce. Add in the asparagus, zucchini and the remaining stock; simmer gently for 10 minutes.

3. Add in the remaining stock and simmer for another 7-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. The rice should be creamy in consistency and the rice should be cooked through. Stir in the frozen peas at this point. Take the pan off the heat and add in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and the butter. Once everything is stirred in, serve the risotto immediately.

Cook's tip: Although I chose not to add grated Parmesan cheese in this risotto feel free to add it in if you like. 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese should be stirred in along with the butter at the last second before you serve.

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