Risotto is one of those things I enjoy eating but rarely enjoy cooking. The creaminess is appealing; standing over the stove stirring continuously is not. For this reason, it’s not something we eat very often. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve eaten in the past year. So when I found this recipe on Eating Well’s website for a risotto-like dish that wouldn’t take as long and was healthier, I thought it was too good to be true.
I knew I was taking a risk by choosing a recipe whose ingredient list contains half vegetables, but I thought hiding those veggies in a creamy, cheesy sauce would make them more tolerable for those who don’t like green things. Personally, I like the crunch of fresh veggies mixed with the creaminess of the risotto; it’s a nice textural contrast. Unfortunately, that is about all this faux risotto had going for it. The cream cheese gave the brown rice a smoothness and richness, just like traditional risotto. The texture was great, but the flavor was lacking. It wasn’t cheesy tasting and was definitely missing something. Since I didn’t have quick cooking rice on hand, this didn’t even save me any time, but at least I didn’t have to stir it constantly. Even though we didn’t consider this exact recipe a success, I do think I will make this again with some different flavor combinations and will definitely add some herbs or spices to jazz it up a bit.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups brown rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add rice and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add broth and water and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 35 minutes.
Remove cover and spread asparagus and bell pepper on top of the simmering rice; do not stir into the rice mixture. Replace cover and continue simmering, adjusting the heat if necessary, until the liquid is almost absorbed and the asparagus is bright green but still crisp, about 5 minutes.
Add peas and cream cheese; stir until the mixture is creamy and the cheese is incorporated. Return to a simmer and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated and the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Source: Eating Well