In honor of the first official day of Spring yesterday, and as we wait for the weather to catch up, a great little winter to spring transitional dish for you this week – a little Brown Rice “Risotto.” Spring crop veggies like green peas and asparagus season are almost upon us and I can’t wait- I’m ready to be done with the heavy winter squashes and root vegetables. So lighten up your comfort food winter brown rice and add some fresh spring veggies to the mix as we get closer to spring season….or further from winter at the very least.
This Brown Rice “Risotto” is a great recipe base for a lot of different combinations. I used mushrooms and fresh peas this time, but asparagus and spinach would be great too, as would onions and mushrooms, or really any vegetables you prefer.
The cooking method is a bit different on the grains than usual (and by different I mean better). The trick here is the steam the rice at the end, rather than trying to have it absorb all the water where it ends up mushy or dried out. And while authentic risotto is made with white ariobo rice, sticks of butter, cream, and cheese, this is quite simplified and back to the basics with brown rice and a bit of good quality cheese- well, except for the taste. You really don’t miss all the extras in this one, I promise.
1 cup uncooked brown rice (quinoa or millet would work well too) soaked for 5 hours min
1/2 cup frozen organic peas
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms (or 1 package pre-sliced)
1/2 block of raw cheddar cheese or a melty cheese of your choice -parmesan or gouda would work well too.
Sea salt, pepper, sage (or other green herbs like parsley, tarragon, rosemary) to taste.
1. After your rice has soaked, rinse it well. Add it to a soup pot and cover with 6-8 cups of water, a pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Add sliced mushrooms and onions to the water and reduce to a small boil. Cover and let cook for 30 minutes or so.
2. Test the rice- it should be slightly chewy, an al dente texture. Add your peas (and asparagus if you’d like) in and let cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Drain the rice and veggies into a colander so all the water drains away. Turn the heat off on the stove. Add the rice and veggie mixture back into the pot. Add loads of black pepper, a bit of sea salt and sage (or other herbs). Slice or grate cheese and mix well.
4. Cover the pot and let the rice steam for 10 minutes as the cheese melts. Serve immediately with black pepper.