Made with nutty brown rice that require plenty of stirring, this aromatic dish is a great way to utilize seasonal produce.
By Lauren Cosgrave
A great stress reliever for me is making risotto. The continuous stirring allows my mind to drift away from my worries while enjoying the aromatherapy of onions cooking in wine. The complex and rich smells of reducing wine make it my absolute favorite cooking scent.
I didn’t have any arborio rice so I tried it this time with short grain brown rice. Brown rice risotto has flavors and textures that are nutty, al dente and much more filling than white arborio. Any short grain rice will work, arborio is just the traditional Italian short grain rice that risotto is made with.
Although it is well worth the wait in taste and nutritional benefits, brown rice risotto will take almost twice as long to cook as white rice.
This recipe is a great excuse to get lots of little things done in the kitchen. Add some liquid and give it a good stir then put the dishes away. Add more liquid give it a stir and take out the garbage. Although risotto needs a lot of stirring it doesn’t need constant attention just a good baby sitter to keep an eye on the liquid level every 10 minutes or so.
- 1 large bunch of asparagus
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons no chicken base such as Better Than Bullion
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- ⅔ cup white wine
- 2 cups short grain brown rice or white rice
- 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted or blanched fresh peas
- ½ cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter or earth balance vegan butter
- salt and pepper
- grated parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Rinse asparagus and remove woody ends. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender and brown on the edges. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your asparagus.
- Once asparagus is cool enough to handle, cut into 1 inch pieces.
- While the asparagus is cooking, in a medium pot bring water and chicken base to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until onion is translucent. About 3 minutes.
- Add rice and stir to coat rice with oil. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add white wine and continuously stir until almost completely absorbed.
- Add 1 cup of water and chicken base mixture and frequently stir until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Repeat until all liquid is used or to taste. It should take about 30-45 minutes. (If you are using white rice cooking time will be 20-30 minutes.)
- Remove rice from heat, add asparagus, peas, cheese, and butter. Stir until well incorporated. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.