Broccoli and Cheese Risotto
When I was a little girl my mom used to make our family a simple chicken and rice dish with canned soup and cheese. All the ingredients would go into a pan in the oven and cook up like a casserole. My mom isn’t much of a cook, but this dish was always a winner.
Inspired by this comfort food from my childhood, I created a broccoli and cheese risotto. Chicken is great with this risotto, but so is a perfectly poached egg. It’s a very simple dish, with very few ingredients, and totally and completely comforting.
I first made this risotto in the spring when things in our life were in a state of happy disarray. We were about to close escrow on our first house and the time in our old house with our wonderful neighbors, and beautiful garden was nearing an end. With half of my life in boxes, I was seeking something familiar and comforting.
After we moved into our house and things began to settle, the summer temperatures spiked and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of a hot stove stirring risotto. With the cool weather back to stay in the fall, I made this recipe again so I could share it with all of you!
This recipe serves 4-6
5-6 cups chicken broth
2 Tbs olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 ½ cup aborrio rice
½ cup dry white wine
1 head of broccoli, cut into tiny florets*
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt, plus a pinch
½ cup of good quality white cheddar cheese or Gruyere cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
* Make sure to cut the broccoli into very small pieces. We are going to add the broccoli in at the very end of this recipe and we need it to cook in a short time – so tiny pieces are a must!
Time saver! Do your chopping on the weekend and save your chopped veggies in labeled zip lock bags. It makes things go soooo much faster when preparing meals during the week nights.
In a medium sauce pan, warm 5-6 cups of chicken broth on the back burner. The broth should be warm, but not too hot! In the meantime, sauté the onions and olive oil in a separate heavy bottomed pan with a pinch of salt over medium high heat. Cook the onions until they become translucent. Add the aborrio rice and give the onions and rice a quick stir together. Quickly add the wine and deglaze the pan and cook until the wine has evaporated completely. Now the fun part starts: Reduce the heat to medium and carefully add 1 cup of broth. Stir the rice frequently until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding one cup of broth at a time, stirring until each cup is absorbed. Continue this step until the rice is cooked completely, but still somewhat al dente. Add the broccoli and ½ tsp of salt, and reduce the heat to low. Continue stirring until the broccoli is cooked but still bright green in color with a slight crunch. If the pan becomes too dry during this step feel free to add a tablespoon or two of broth or water. Turn the heat off and add the cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted and combined.
Add additional salt, pepper, or garlic powder to suit your tastes and serve immediately!
Top with a poached egg or baked chicken and enjoy the hearty comfort food!