Risottos with Green Vegetables
Fresh green vegetables of nearly every variety add the flavor of a warm summer day to this heavenly risotto. Experiment with the three wrapper options, and you’ll have a completely different taste for the same meal each time. Chicken cutlets—one of the wrapper options— are wonderful for this recipe. Pair the risotto with a variety of sauces and serve for lunch with a salad or for dinner with roasted pork loin and sautéed vegetables.
Oven: 350°F (175° C) or 400°F (205° C)
Prep time: 45 minutes
Baking time: 15 to 45 minutes, depending on choice of crust
Yield: 12 risottos
For the Vegetables
1½ cups (190 g) assorted chopped green vegetables, such as zucchini, asparagus, green beans, and frozen peas (thawed)
For the Risotto
1 quart (1 L) chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) dice
1½ cups (300 g) Arborio rice
5 tablespoons (75 ml) extra-dry vermouth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup (75 g) grated Parmesan
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or parsley from a tube
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Assembly Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan
1 (15-ounce / 430-g) package ready-made pie dough (2 rounds), at room temperature,
or 1 (17.3-ounce /485-g) package puff pastry (2 sheets), at room temperature
Make The Vegetables If using zucchini, slice the zucchini lengthwise into 4 long planks, then cut the planks crosswise into thin strips.
If using asparagus, cut off the tips of the asparagus and slice the stalks into ¼-inch (6-mm) slices on the bias, removing the tough end.
If using peas, add the thawed peas directly from the bag.
If using green beans, trim the ends and slice the beans into ¼-inch (6-mm) slices on the bias. Blanch the beans in boiling salted water until slightly tender but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander and immediately rinse in cold water; drain well.
Make the Risotto
In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the broth to a simmer.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasion - ally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat.Add 1 cup (240 ml) of the broth and cook at a simmer, stirring constantly, until the broth is absorbed. Add the remaining 3½ cups (840 ml) broth, ½ cup (120 ml) at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is al dente, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vermouth, butter, Parmesan, all of the vegetables, the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper, and the chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
Assemble and Bake the Risottos Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) if using pie dough, or to 400ºF (205ºC) if using puff pastry.
Spray a 12-well classic cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
If using pie dough, unroll the dough onto a flat work surface; no need to flour it first. Cut each round of dough in half, and then cut each half into thirds, for a total of 12 pieces. Place 1 piece of dough in each well of the pan. The dough can be draped loosely in the well; no need to press it in perfectly. Fill the dough to the top with the risotto mixture, using it all. Bake until golden brown at the edges, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the risottos cool in the pan for 10 minutes (no longer, or they will become soggy), then loosen the sides of each risotto with a table knife and pop them out of the pan.
If using puff pastry, unroll the puff pastry and cut each sheet crosswise into 3 equal strips, and then cut each strip into thirds, for a total of 18 pieces. Set aside 12 pieces to use for the pan (see “Savory Tidbits” on page 44 for ideas on how to use the extra pastry). Line each well with 1 piece of puff pastry, stretching each piece slightly in both directions and letting it overhang the edges of the well slightly. (Make sure any pastry overhanging the well doesn’t touch any other pastry or the pieces will fuse together when baking.) Using a 1/3-cup (75-ml) measure, fill each well with the risotto mixture, using it all. Bake until the pastry has puffed and turned golden brown, 15 minutes. Loosen the sides of each risotto with a table knife and pop them out of the pan.
Store the risottos in an airtight container in the refrig - erator for up to TK days. Reheat at 350ºF (175ºC).
Chicken Cutlet Variation One seemingly odd choice is to use a chicken cutlet as the wrapper. I thought it was crazy as well; then I made it, and wow! Now I know how to get that yummy risotto filling inside that thin, juicy, flavorful chicken wrapper without drying out the chicken. The whole dish reminds me of a Greek avgolemono soup with chicken, rice, and lemon.
Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan 6 chicken cutlets or breasts (2 pounds / 680 g), pounded to ¼-inch (6-mm) thickness and cut in half lengthwise (see Note)
Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or parsley from a tube
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray a 12-well classic cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare the vegetables and risotto following the instructions above.
In a large bowl, toss the breasts with the salt and pep - per, parsley, lemon juice, and cayenne, until well coated.
Lay a piece of raw chicken into each well, overhang - ing the edge. Fill each well with the risotto mixture using a ¹⁄³-cup (75-ml) measure.
Fold the chicken over onto the filling, forming a package, and bake until firm to the touch but not dry or browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
Let the risottos rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then loosen the sides of each risotto with a table knife, and pop them out of the pan, keeping them upright. Pour the juices in the bottom of each well over the risottos prior to serving.
To pound the chicken cutlets or breasts, place them in a large zip-top bag. Cover the bag with a tea towel and gently pound with a mallet or the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Leave the chicken in the bag—you can use it to toss the chicken with the rest of the ingredients rather than dirtying a bowl.
The cutlets should be 1 / 4 inch (6 mm) thick. Some markets sell chicken cutlets ready to go in 1 1 / 2- to 2-pound (680- to 910-g) packages. Make sure there are six pieces that can be cut in half lengthwise, each half about 3 1 / 2 to 4 inches (9 to 10 cm) long, to fill the wells.