I don’t eat too much rice or pasta in Ramadan because it leaves me feeling too full before eating other things, but if I’m going to make rice, it’s a special dish. That’s why I love risotto, the Italian rice dish made with arborio rice.
It can seem intimidating to cook because it’s often cooked with cream and Parmesan cheese, but hopefully I can show you the steps to make it perfect- light and fluffy and creamy and delicious- exactly how it should be. Once you master it this way, you’ll want to keep your pantry stocked with arborio for any last-minute meal side dish you crave that can be made into a wonderful risotto of your own style.
For this one made with cut asparagus (it cooks faster) and green peas, it really came out of my usual cooking style: either something classic from my family culinary recipe box or out of what I ended up finding in my refrigerator and thought would go well together.
In this case, it was a little bit of both.
What I had in my fridge was what reminded me of dishes I’ve made in the past based on either my mother’s or my aunts’ cooking styles- so it was a little bit of both here. Regardless of where and how it was derived, it’s just superb in taste.
You can also use some chicken stock or broth to add flavor and nutrients to the rice.
The key to cooking the arborio rice is to let it steam cook at the end, once it’s off the stove. I have played around with many ways of making it. If you want to skip the addition of Parmesan cheese, then you don’t have to even open the lid once it’s cooking; if you add the Parmesan then you’ll have to stir it in (towards the end) just to make sure it’s mixed in thoroughly.
It’s such a fantastic one-pot rice dish that if you’re interested in having just this for dinner or any other meal, I am pretty sure it could be quite satisfying and filling that way, too.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons shallots
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch blanched or frozen asparagus, cut thin
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- 1 16-ounce package green peas
- In a large saucepan over medium head, warm the butter and the olive oil together.
- Add the garlic, shallots and rice as well as the salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine all ingredients. Add the cooked asparagus, half and half and the water or broth. Add the Parmesan. Stir to combine all ingredients well. Add the peas.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let cook for 20 minutes, covered.
- Remove the pot from heat and let steam for another 5-10 minutes.
- Serve immediately with a side of vegetables, fish, chicken or other meat dishes.