A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

I know risotto isn't a very summery dish, but my pantry has been overflowing lately so I thought it was time to plan a few dinners around items that have been taking up valuable real estate in there. I had some Arborio rice leftover and decided that if we were going to have risotto, we would at least do something a little lighter. This risotto recipe has great flavor with the sweetness of roasted red peppers and the fresh taste of spinach and is still hearty enough to be a meatless main dish. It would also be an excellent side dish for grilled chicken or seafood too.

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cups spinach leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine *I prefer Pinot Grigio when making risotto
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth just to a simmer. Cover and keep hot over medium low heat until you are ready to use it.

Preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Slice the bell pepper in half lengthwise, removed stem, seeds, and ribs and use the palm of your hand to gently flatten the pepper halves. Place the peppers skin side up on the foil and place under the broiler. Broil until the skin is black and blistered. Remove and transfer to a small bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes until peppers can be handled. When cooled, peel the blackened exterior skin off the peppers, chop into 1/2-inch pieces, and set aside.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until tender (make sure they don't brown!), about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat with the oil and shallot mixture. Add the wine and simmer, stirring until it has almost completely evaporated, approximately 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and stir constantly until the broth has almost completely absorbed, for 2-3 minutes. Continue stirring the rice and repeat the process of adding 1/2 cup broth at a time. Allow each 1/2 cup of broth to absorb before adding the next. Pour in the last 1/2 cup of broth along with the chopped spinach and continue stirring to cook until the rice is chewy and firm.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped red bell pepper, grated cheese, butter, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowls, sprinkle with basil, and serve warm.

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