Red wine brown rice risotto is a simple, elegant, flavorful, and healthy twist on the traditional Italian dish. Made with only six ingredients, this meal is vegetarian and gluten free.
Happy Friday, everyone! What are your weekend plans?
So, originally I had a veggie burger recipe I was going to share with you. At first, the recipe seemed like a success: pretty colors, packed full with vegetables, vegan, gluten free, and tasty; then, when I reheated the leftovers for lunch today, it crumbled. This left me with a mushy bite-sized veggie burger pieces in my salad. Not desirable for a veggie burger (although it still tasted good enough to eat and I don’t waste food). I guess chia seeds did not make the best binder. So, while I’m modifying that recipe, I thought I would share this red wine brown rice risotto recipe with you!
I’ve mentioned here and there before about an upcoming project I’m working on, which is an eCookbook. I’ll give the full details when I announce the sale of it, but as of right now I am focused on developing recipes, taste-testing, and photographing. Initially, I intended this red wine brown rice risotto to be featured in the eCookbook, until this weekend when, due to a case of Sunday laziness, I accidentally developed a recipe for the best risotto I’ve ever made. I make risotto a couple times a month and was this close to wearying Ryan’s taste buds of my favorite Italian dish, until I made this creamy, hearty, healthy, herby risotto dish that will definitely be included in the eCookbook.
So, for the time being, I’m sharing this flavorful, delectable, savory brown rice red wine risotto. This meal may not be the best option for a busy weeknight, but it is perfect for a date night, holiday meal, or a leisurely weekend with plenty of wine and good conversation.
Honestly, Italian food does not charm and seduce my tastebuds the way it does for many people. I recall several of my friends extolling the pasta, pizza, and gelato they ate in Italy during my semester abroad, while I dreamt for weeks after of the perfect porridge I enjoyed in Ireland or the piquant currywurst I purchased from the street carts in Berlin. It is not that I abhor Italian food, it is merely that I would rather have German, Irish/Scottish/British, Mexican, or Greek food.
I still savor a good plate of spaghetti with meat sauce from time to time, but it has been months since I cooked a pasta dish. Risotto, though, is a completely different story. I crave it, especially the day before or day of a long run. It’s carby, creamy, comforting, and satisfying without being too heavy. Risotto serves as an open palate for your culinary creativity, as you can season it with a multitude of spices, serve it alongside various meats, pump up the protein with beans, or increase the indulgence factor by switching parmesan out for goat cheese. You can even experiment with what type of alcohol you use as a base, and substitute the oaky chardonnay with beer or, in this case, red wine.
Somewhere an Italian grandmother is probably cursing me for using brown rice instead of arborio rice, which is the traditional choice for risotto. Arborio rice is characterized by its short grain and higher starch content, which makes it ideal for risotto. However, since I don’t have a drop of Italian blood in my veins, I opted for the healthier alternative of short grain brown rice. If you make this dish, it’s worth seeking out short grain brown rice over regular brown rice, since a shorter grain cooks quicker and absorbs more liquid, which is what you want for making risotto.
That said, short grain brown rice requires more liquid and a longer cooking time than arborio rice, but it is so worth it for the nutty, earthy flavor it lends to the risotto. The tannic and full-bodied taste of the red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon) enhances that flavor even more, so that the end result is hearty and robust without sacrificing the comforting creaminess of risotto.
I have been mastering my risotto recipe for a few years now, so let me offer a few recommendations. Firstly, be patient. You do not have to stir constantly, but you do need to be attentive to this dish. This is not a pop in the oven, set a timer, and watch Netflix or do core work while it cooks dish. Risotto requires a close eye and frequent stirring.
Secondly, if possible, use homemade stock. For a completely vegetarian dish, you can use vegetable stock (see this simple recipe from Food52 for homemade vegetable stock). Since we’re not vegetarian, I used homemade chicken stock. Homemade stock boasts a freshness and richness that store bought stock simply does not possess. Since stock plays such a significant role in the taste and texture of risotto, it is definitely worth it to make your own.
Finally, enjoy this meal! Risotto should not be hurriedly consumed while binge-watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or Orange is the New Black. Pour a glass of wine. Serve it on your nice dishes. Dine al fresco. Slow down and savor.
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1 shallot
- 3/4 cup short grain brown rice
- 1/2 cup red wine (cabernet sauvignon or other)
- 2-2.5 cups chicken stock*
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- Heat the butter or olive in a large saucepan over medium heat. Mince the shallot and then saute for 2-3 minutes in the butter.
- Add the brown rice and lightly toast in the pan for 3 minutes, stirring a few times.
- Add the red wine to the pan and stir until absorbed.
- Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken stock and stir frequently until absorbed. Repeat 3-4 more times, until the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked to your preference.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- *If your risotto is still firm after 2.5 cups of broth, add more broth a 1/4 cup at a time.
On Monday I will be sharing this meal with Tina Muir’s Meatless Monday round-up!
Questions of the Day:
What are your weekend plans?
What recipes would you like to see created here or for an eCookbook?
What’s your favorite meal to cook for a leisurely dinner?