It is a New Year. Thusly and therefore, we should all be adhering to our resolutions: saving our pennies, eating more healthfully, flossing EVERY DAY (Yes, dental hygienist, I heard you hollering at me…), and quite possibly avoiding wine.
OK, let’s ignore that part about the wine.
But sometimes, even a healthy lifestyle deserves something satisfying and delicious, something that feels decadent, even if it’s healthy. And winter, no matter where one is living, deserves bright flavors that make the dark days sing.
This risotto is not quite as rich as the variety made with Arborio rice, but is a more-than-satisfying substitute. The brown rice gives it a nutty flavor and even more bite to the tooth, and the kale and white beans boost the nutrition to perfectly acceptable resolutionary levels. But the lemon juice and zest, added at different times during cooking, provide a sharp-bright flavor that will bring a smile to even the most wintry of faces. And there’s just enough butter and Parmaggiano-Reggiano to take the Spartan edge off this particular brand of health food.
3 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large onion or 1 medium onion, chopped
One bunch kale, stemmed and sliced in ribbons
1 1/2 c. short-grain or medium-grain brown rice
1/4 c. + 1/2 c. dry white wine (not cooking wine)
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 c. cooked white beans
1/2 c. grated Parmaggiano-Reggiano cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Combine the broth, water and lemon juice in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until it is lightly brown and tender. Add the kale and 1/4 c. wine and sauté until the kale is wilted. Add the beans and cook until the beans are heated through. Season with salt and pepper, turn off the heat and leave the pan on the burner.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a saucepan until it’s bubbling. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with the butter. Add the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Begin adding the hot broth mixture one ladleful at a time, stirring when the liquid is added, then approximately every minute until the liquid is absorbed. Do not let the rice get dry, but make sure the rice is not soupy before adding the next ladleful of broth mixture.
- When all the broth has been added and is nearly absorbed, add the lemon zest, the Parmaggiano-Reggiano and the remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter. Stir to combine. Then add in the kale mixture, stir to combine, and serve immediately.