Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Arugula Risotto with Leek and Fresh Herbs...

Risotto is one of those pain in the ass Italian dishes that everyone loves and noone likes to make. Well, actually I don’t mind making risotto, yes it’s usually a lot of prep work, and it’s definitely a lot of stirring, but there’s something about it that I kind of love. I love watching the rice go from small hard granules to this very rich, and creamy aromatic concoction. There’s something really satisfying in witnessing this transformation, and risotto is universally perfect for cold winter nights and late summer evenings. It’s the kind of dinner you decide to make when you just want to chill by the oven and daydream. You put on some good music, open a nice bottle of wine to sip, and you daydream about far away places.

Anyway this particular recipe was inspired by a recent trip to the library. I was browsing through the cook books as I so often do when I’m there and book entitled ‘La Tartine Gourmande’ caught my eye. This is by no means a vegan cook book, or even a vegetarian cook book, I wouldn’t say that it’s even particularly vegan friendly but the cover photo was so beautiful and I was intrigued by the French so I picked it up and started flipping through it. Now it’s not very often that I find myself inspired by non-vegan recipes but when I saw the author Beatrice Peltre had made a risotto utilizing Arugula I knew I would have to try the combination. Ever since my trip to Europe I’ve been obsessed with Arugula I use it frequently these days and throw it into all sorts of dishes. I’m always on the lookout for creative ways to use this new favorite green of mine, so when I saw this recipe I knew it was a must.

Initially I wasn’t sure how arugula would go In a risotto since it has the tendency to be bitter but it worked out perfectly and wasn’t bitter at all. I love the accent from the lemon and subtle flavor of the wine and the leek. The parsley and basil make it almost reminiscent of a light pesto, and the miso gives it that rich, tart flavor that cheese would traditionally provide. However if you prefer you can leave the miso out and I’m sure it would be just as delicious! So here is my recipe adapted from ‘La Tartine Gourmande’ No matter how you decide to make it, just make it!

Arugula Risotto with Leek and Fresh Herbs

4 C Packed Arugula
1 C Packed Fresh Basil
1 C Packed Fresh Parsley
1-2 Tbsp Fresh Minced Rosemary
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Large Leek Sliced thin
½ Red Onion chopped
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Sea salt
1 ½ C of Arbrorio Rice
½ C Dry White Wine
2 C Vegetable Broth + 2 C Vegan Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Earth Balance
1 ½ Tbsp White Miso mixed with 3 Tbsp water
Black Pepper to taste
Fresh Minced Parsley for garnish

- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling add the Arugula, Basil, and Parsley. Blanch for one minute then drain and run under cold water.

- Once cool enough to handle squeeze all the excess water from the arugula and herbs. Then place on a cutting board and finely chop and set aside.

- In the same pot you used to blanch the arugula heat the vegetable/vegan chicken broth and keep warm.

- Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the leek, and red onion. Saute for 4-5 minutes then add the lemon zest and garlic powder. Saute for another 2 minutes then add the rice, and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

- Add the white wine, and cook stirring until the liquid has been absorbed.

- Add the salt and minced Rosemary along with 1 cup of warmed broth and cook stirring occasionally until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat this process until you have no more broth left and the rice is thoroughly cooked and creamy. This takes roughly 20 minutes or so depending on your oven. Depending on how hot your burners get you may need to readjust the heat to a lower setting. Either medium, or even medium low so that the rice doesn’t cook too quickly.

- With the last cup of broth add in the chopped Arugula and herbs. Stir to thoroughly mix the arugula and herbs in. Once the liquid has been absorbed turn off the heat and stir in the tablespoon of Earth Balance, along with the white miso/water mixture, and black pepper to taste. Stir until fully incorporated.

- Taste for flavor and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with fresh minced parsley.

Enjoy on a cold winter night with some crusty bread, a glass of wine and dreams of a warm Mediterranean climate.

*** Note - If you prefer you can use all vegetable broth or all vegan chicken broth. I used half and half because I only had 2 cups of vegetable broth left, so I subbed in 2 cups of water with one vegan chicken bouillon cube. Also if you need to be soy-free you can use a soy-free barley miso or chickpea miso instead, or as I already suggested you can leave it out altogether.***

1 comment:

  1. AMAZING MEAL!! You're right, everyone should make this at least once. I love risotto & everything just came together perfectly. Damn, you're good! =) - Matt