Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lemon Vegetable Risotto: Lightening up an Italian heavyweight

The Sunday before last, I was feeling a wee bit weighed down. Due to the extreme deliciousness of the chicken prosciutto panini at Aroma Coffee & Tea, I did my poor stomach a wrong. I ate the whole oversized thing. And then got a chai latte to go.

While I didn't feel overly stuffed after my good ole Big Fat American lunch/brunch (apparently, I'm used to gigantour restaurant portion sizes), I wasn't particularly hungry for the rest of the day. Even so, because I become an insane person when I go too long without food, I knew that I'd still need something to keep my belly beast purring through the night. It was at this critical juncture that I decided to make risotto.

I know, I know. Risotto? It doesn't seem like a light meal -- at all. On the contrary, risotto, with all its cheesy goodness, can be the perpetrator of a big kick to the stomach. Or at least it is when prepared with loads of butter and bacon and cream. Prepared my way, however, the dish can actually be a nutritional powerhouse and a delightfully light supper. It doesn't need lard or loads of animal fat to be good -- just like sloppy joes made with lean ground turkey instead of beef, or brownies baked with applesauce instead of vegetable oil, it is possible to make risotto a diet-friendly dish that will still knock even the pickiest of taste buds off.

I know this, because this dish, with its liberal use of lemon, still knocks my picky taste buds off every time I make it.

Diana's Lemon Vegetable Risotto
Serves 1

1/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup shelled Edamame, cooked
1/2 cup squash, cubed
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth (I combined 1 teaspoon Better Than Boullioun chicken base w/ 1 cup water)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Salt, pepper to taste

Combine white wine, lemon juice and chicken broth in a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy pan over medium heat and saute shallot in a little olive oil until tender. Reduce the heat, add the rice, and stir until the edges of the rice turn translucent. Add some of the hot chicken broth/white wine mixture and season with pepper to taste.

Continue adding the warm broth/wine little by little, stirring occasionally, as it is absorbed. The rice should simmer at a slow boil until it reaches a slightly stiff consistency. Just before the risotto is done, add the cooked edamame and squash to the pan. Cook until squash is tender, and then add the Parmesan and lemon zest, reserving some for garnish. Serve immediately.


Leila said...

Yum! I love veggie risotto. Most recently I made with fresh green beans, roasted red peppers and roma tomatoes. Amazing how many different veggie combos wil work. :)

Erica said...

mmmmmmmmm this is my favorite way to make risotto! Lighter with just a bit of cheese! Its just perfect! I'm coming over for dinner if you have leftovers, k?

Esi said...

This is a great way to prep risotto without all the fattiness. Love it.

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm going to try this for Ben. He needs more veggies and light meals, and he LOVES rice, so I'm sure he'll love risotto.

And the Rubber Chicken doesn't have a brother, but Rouge does. ;) So does Wade. All you have to do is decide Irish or Cowboy?

The Duo Dishes said...

The crunchy edamame are a nice texture touch. And we love our lemons! Can't get enough zest in anything.

Diana said...

Leila - Oh your risotto sounds great! I love roasted red peppers!

Erica - Hah, no leftovers today, but if you come out and visit, I'll make a whole batch just for you!

Esi - It's actually one of my favorite ways to have risotto too!

Miranda - Let me know if you try it! Hmm... cowboy or Irish... I'm leaning toward... cowboy! :)

Diana said...

Chyrstal & Amir - I am obsessed with lemon zest! I've been putting it in everything lately!

Heather said...

ohh. edamamme in risotto! it sounds delicious, especially with the lemon zest!

Reeni♥ said...

This is loaded with all the goodies I love! A delicious combo of flavors and I bet the lemon just brightened up the whole dish.

Elra said...

I love risotto, never made it with lemon though. It sounds really tempting.

Burp and Slurp~! said...

wow! spring seems to inspire lemons out of a lot of people....this is like the 5th time I've read about lemons!
I love your healthified version of risotto. have got to try this for myself sometime...