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Monday
Jan032011

Risotto with Sweet Peppers


When winter weather hits, we love to warm up with risotto.  And let me tell you, though we had unseasonably warm weather on New Year's Eve, we quickly returned to blustery cold weather.  In the past, we've made our favorite "go-to" versions of the dish with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese or acorn squash.  Tonight, however, we decided to try something a little different and go with this recipe from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, who adapted it from Emeril Lagasse.  This was a wonderful change from the ordinary.  The saltiness from the cheese and sweetness from the peppers was a perfect combination.  The faint crunch of the peppers also gave this risotto an extraordinary texture.  I plan to make this again, for sure, if not for of the reasons I just gave, then for the fact that it made my house smell awesome!

6 cups Chicken Stock (I used vegetable stock)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced (I only used 1)
1 1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, seeded and diced (I only used 1)
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
1/2 cup Dry White Wine (I used Pinot Grigio, which also paired nicely by the glass!)
2 sprigs Thyme (I used a pinch of dried)
4 Scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Cracked White Pepper (I used black)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the peppers and cook, stirring frequently,  until cooked through but still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  In a large heavy saucepan (we used a dutch oven), heat the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque, about 2 minutes.  Add the wine and cook, stirring until the rice nearly completely absorbs all of the liquid, about 1 minute.  Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the thyme.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the hot stock, and cook, stirring frequently.  Cook the risotto, adding more stock 1 cup at a time as it is absorbed, for about 20 minutes.  Stir in the green onions and cooked peppers after 15 minutes of cooking time.  Season the risotto with salt and pepper.  The rice should be slightly al dente.  Remove from heat and discard the thyme sprigs.  Add the cheese and stir well to mix.  Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve immediately.

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