Broccoli Cheddar Risotto
Both Martin and I have been craving cheese lately. A cheese craving is not something to ignore.
Broccoli Cheddar Risotto was the perfect recipe to satisfy this craving.
Risotto is a traditional Italian dish that dates back to the 1500s. The most basic recipe consists of onions cooked in butter and then short grain rice (typically arborio) cooked briefly in the butter until translucent. Wine is typically added at this point and boiled down before adding broth (unfortunately, traditionally chicken broth) in small increments and stirring almost constantly to release the starch. Plenty of parmesan cheese is (and sometimes more butter) is stirred into the dish at the end. The result is a creamy, porridge-like dish that still has an al dente bite to the rice grains.
Pure comfort food.
Minnesota got hit with another winter storm this past week, dumping about 6 inches of snow on Minneapolis. I needed comfort. With cheese. Lots and lots of comfort and cheese.
While I usually try to keep my recipes fairly healthy, this one is more about satisfying a cheese craving and providing a warming comforting dish that is perfect for a stormy spring day.
This comes together in under 30 minutes, so it is also great for a weeknight meal. While using wine and onions in a risotto is traditional, I omitted them to keep the emphasis on the cheese and to keep it as simple as possible.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 cups finely chopped broccoli
- 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
- 4 1/2 cups sodium-free vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1 teaspoon salt (see note)
- In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil, then turn heat down to low to keep warm.
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rice and stir so each grain is covered in the melted butter. Let cook for 1-2 minutes or until the outside of the rice is translucent.
- Add 1 cup of the hot broth to the rice and stir well to combine. Let the rice cook until it has absorbed all of the liquid, stirring frequently. Repeat this process two more times, or until the rice is almost done. Stir in the broccoli, sage, and the remaining broth. When the broth is absorbed, taste to ensure the rice is al dente (soft, but with a little bite). If needed add more liquid to finish cooking the rice.
- When the rice is done, stir in the cheese and salt. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve warm.
- Choose a young cheddar cheese for this dish as it will melt better than the aged cheddar cheeses. Also, because of the salt already in the cheese, it is important to use a low sodium vegetable broth - or even better use a sodium-free vegetable broth. I used my homemade vegetable broth, which contains no sodium. A food processor finely chops broccoli in seconds. I cut the broccoli into large chunks and then pulse the food processor a couple of times to get very small bits of broccoli (I aim for just slightly larger pieces than the grains of rice).