Healthy, Creamy Vegetable Risotto

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Risotto is usually a really heavy dish. As delicious as it is, it’s not something that we can eat everyday. Although, with this recipe, by cutting down the oil and replacing the heaps of parmesan cheese and heavy cream, you can still have a creamy risotto; just a little bit lighter. I used Zucchini blossoms and spinach for this recipe, but you can use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge!

Ingredients

  • Arborio Rice
  • Vegetable broth
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • vegetables of your choice!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • parmesan cheese
  • cream cheese
  • 1 tsp of rosemary
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

To start off, Finely dice your carrots, celery, garlic and onion. This trio is the basic of any flavour development. It’s crucial for soups, risottos and stews. Once that is prepped, you can chop your other vegetables that you’re using into larger chunks. Since I used Zucchini blossoms and spinach which wilt down very quickly, I added in my vegetables at the very end. If you’re using hardier vegetables like zucchini, squash, broccoli, etc, you can either roast them and add them in at the end or cook them once your trio of celery, carrot, garlic and onion has cooked down a little bit.

Add your olive oil to a high side skillet and cook your carrot, celery, garlic and onion until softened. At this point you can add any other vegetables you’d like to use. To your vegetables, add your thyme and rosemary. While that’s cooking off, in a separate pot, bring your stock to a simmer. For Risotto, you need to gradually add your liquid so that you can gage the perfect texture of the rice. Keeping the liquid hot will help keep the temperature of the dish consistent and won’t slow down cooking. You can use water instead of stock if you would like.

Once everything is soft and almost cooked through, add your rice to the dry pan and let it sit and soak up the excess oil and flavour from the vegetables. Then, gradually add in your stock. A couple ladles of broth at a time is perfect. Wait until the rice has almost absorbed all the liquid and then keep adding more. Keep doing this until the rice is cooked al dente (please don’t let it to turn to mush). If you’re adding spinach or any vegetable that wilts down fast, add them in now.

Turn off the heat and finish off the risotto with a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese. Ricotta is also a good alternative. Also add a tablespoon of parmesan cheese. once the cheese is melted, season with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe is light and as low fat as you can make a creamy risotto. Also completely Vegetarian! It may not be traditional, but it is definitely Nonna approved!

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