I have to admit, I have not cooked dinner in a long time. Sad, yes, but all too true. Even though I am the proud owner of (and infrequent contributor to) this food blog, Jeremy and I eat out far too often. There are several reasons for this. One is simply habit. He must have realized when he first met me that one of the best ways to my heart is through my stomach, and so he treated me to some of the best meals I’d had in this foodie town. While we don’t dine quite as extravagantly these days, I guess we’re used to enjoying time out on the town with no dishes to clean up later.
The second reason has to do with our having very different ideas of what constitutes an acceptable meal. Most of my creations look suspiciously like “Health Food” to him. And I turn my nose up at the nutritional value of many of his favorites. And so, we go out to bars and restaurants where we can each order what we consider to be a reasonable dinner. Yes, it’s expensive.
But I was making my favorite rice pudding the other day (I needed something to distract me from the sinful pound cake air-mailed to us by Jeremy’s mom), and I realized that the recipe was not so different from risotto. Substitute broth, butter and cheese for the pudding’s milk and coconut oil, throw in some veggies, and voila(!), a dinner treat that I knew we could both agree on. Ok, so the broccoli in there is pretty minimal, but you can serve some extra on the side if you care about that kind of thing. We had it with tomato soup and it was lovely.
This dish was inspired by the Risotto Balls in Mike Isabella’s Crazy Good Italian.
Risotto with Smoked Gouda and Broccoli
- 4 quarts water
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 head broccoli, florets only
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3 oz smoked gouda
Bring water, salt, and sugar to a boil in a large pot. Add broccoli florets and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and shock in a large bowl of ice water. Allow to cool completely and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain. After about 10 minutes, pulse in a food processor until very finely chopped. Reserve 1/2 cup for the risotto, save the rest for another meal.
Heat vegetable stock over medium heat in a saucepan until it is simmering.
In another saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add arborio rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, until rice is coated with butter.
Add broth to rice mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. When one 1/2 cup is fully absorbed by the rice, add 1/2 cup more. Rice will become creamy but should not be mushy. Stir in broccoli and remove from heat.
Add remaining 1 Tbsp butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and smoked gouda. Stir until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.