Hey everyone, did you miss me?! Paul and I returned from our Arizona trip last Wednesday – we had a blast. I was able to post a few Instagram stories but not as many as I would have liked because the West never gives me good service. Come on U.S. Cellular get it together! Don’t you worry, I will be sharing our adventure here on the blog shortly.
Before we talk about Brown Rice Spring Risotto can I be honest with you for a second?! I want to share with you the reason this post is published on Tuesday instead of it’s normal Monday. I was planning to work Thursday and Friday after we returned from Arizona (okay at the very least on Friday) but I found my self falling asleep at my desk and then taking an hour long nap on the couch after getting 9 hours of sleep the night before – trust me I DO NOT NAP hardly ever, let a lone for an hour. I knew I must need the extra recovery time from a high energy/didn’t-sleep-well-because-we-were-sleeping-on-an-air-mattress-for-a-week/I-think-I-came-down-with-a-cold kind of trip. I tried so hard to write this post on Friday, about three separate times and yes I could have posted it as it was. BUT it didn’t feel right – it didn’t flow, it fell short, it lacked character. I always strive for quality over quantity for this blog!
I am telling you all of this not because I want to give excuses or gain your sympathy – and trust me all of the thoughts go through my head – Emily, you’re not good enough! Emily, you’re not going to make it as a blogger! Emily, your readers are going to hate you! – blah blah blah! I had to shut those voices up because deep down I know they’re not true and at the end of the day I have to do what’s right for me. I’m human, you’re human. You understand that I work hard and do my best to bring you quality recipes every Monday and Friday and if there is a day or two when I need a moment just know that it is with my best intentions. I don’t just want my post to say, “hey make this risotto because it’s delicious” – The End! I want you to connect to the food and to get excited about making it and eating it. And that type of a post takes time and energy to create, it’s something that I normally enjoy doing. Basically what I’m saying is that it’s okay that this post is late and that once in a while posts will be late. That’s just the type of blogger I am, because that’s me. Quality content that is mostly consistent, with the occasional late or missed post because LIFE happens – that’s what you can expect to find on Robust Recipes. What I don’t want is things to feel forced or fake. We’re all okay with that, right? Because it’s real life, man!
Now that we understand each other thank you for being here and wanting to read my blog posts, even if they’re late or missing once in a while – it means the world to me and without you there would be no blog! Besides I feel 100 percent refreshed and ready to get back to work! See breaks are good!
Okay moving on to the Brown Rice Spring Risotto! (Finally, Geez!)
If you know anything about risotto you know that it is a dish that requires a good amount of constant stir time (40 minutes to be exact – I timed it) to release its starches and create a creamy texture. It’s an easy dish to make but it does take a lot of babysitting. There are ways to make risotto without having to watch over it all the time, such as bake it for a long time and then stir vigorously at the end. I fully plan to try that method out in the future. For my first time making risotto I felt the need to do things the old fashioned way – trust me, it is worth it (well okay especially for foodie nerds like you and me).
The one thing that is not old fashioned about Brown Rice Spring Risotto is that I used brown arborio rice instead of white rice to make it. My reason for this is that brown rice has more nutritional value and fiber than white rice. This helps to regulate our blood sugar levels and helps to keep us fuller longer – YAY healthy food! The downfall about using brown rice is that it might yield a less creamy texture than if you use white rice. Also white rice may take less time to cook. However, for the health benefits and the nutty flavor of brown rice, I am willing to make that sacrifice. BUT of course use what you have on hand or what you prefer to make this recipe. The most important thing is to make sure you use arborio rice (short grain) because it has more starches in it than long grain rice.
For my Brown Rice Spring Risotto I use leeks, plenty of garlic, asparagus, and frozen peas – give me ALL the spring veggies!! The result is a fresh, hearty risotto with tasty veggies that help to lighten everything up. Really, you could use any kind of veggies in this dish that you want. This recipe makes a great side dish but if you wanted to turn it into more of a meal I think some shrimp would be a lovely addition.
Brown Rice Spring Risotto is packed with spring time veggies, it is satisfying, creamy, and packed with flavor and texture. The recipe may require a little more attention than your typical side dish, but trust me you will impress anyone you serve it to. Try serving this Brown Rice Spring Risotto with my Crispy Tilapia with Mushy Peas, my One Pan Apricot Chicken (when apricots are available of course), or my One Pan Lemon Chicken to create a complete meal.
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth (or sub veggie broth)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 leeks, chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups brown arborio rice (short grain rice) - can sub white arborio rice*
- 1 cup dry white wine, divided
- ½ cup frozen peas
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2 teaspoons fresh time (or sub ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
- Heat the chicken broth: Add the chicken broth to a medium sauce put with a lid. Cover and bring the chicken broth to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered. Keeping the broth at a low simmer and covered speeds up the cooking process a lot.
- Saute Veggies: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and heat the olive oil. Add the leeks and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus, saute until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove the veggies from the skillet to a dish and set aside.
- Cook the rice: Once the veggies have been removed heat the pan over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add the arborio rice. Stir until the rice is coated in the butter and allow it to toast, for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and use your wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Stir the rice until the wine is mostly absorbed. Then ladle in about ½ cup of the hot chicken broth, stir until most of the liquid is abosrbed and add another ladle of chicken broth, stir until most of the broth is absorbed. Stir mostly constantly, but you can let the rice rest and come to a simmer every few minutes. Repeat this process until all of the chicken broth is gone and the rice is cooked and creamy. The entire stirring process took me 40 minutes (I timed it). The broth did absorb faster as the rice became more tender so the time to multitask is at the beginning. The constant stirring and babysitting is more important during the end of the cooking process.
- Make it flavorful: Once the rice is cooked stir in the frozen peas, salt and pepper, remaining tablespoon of butter, Parmesan cheese and the remaining ½ cup white wine. Cook until most of the white wine has been absorbed and the peas defrosted. Stir in the leeks and asparagus and allow them to warm through. Turn off the heat and stir in the thyme and you are good to go. Serve immediately.
- Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days, however it is best when fresh.
*When I researched how to make brown rice risotto several people said that brown rice may take longer to cook than white rice. If you decide to use white rice then your cooking time may be reduced. Just make sure to use arborio (short grain) rice either way - it has more starches in it than a long grain rice. Also keep in mind that using white rice will change the nutrition facts. There will be less fiber in your dish making the white rice a little less healthy. However, some say that the white rice will produce a creamier risotto while the brown rice has a heartier texture and flavor. Either rice will be delicious, it just depends on what you're going for.
Nutrition Facts are calculated for 10 servings (about 1/2 cup), however I if eating it as a side I often ate about 1/4 cup per serving as it is pretty filling. It all depends on how hungry you are! 🙂