Occasionally, I’m going to post some Mix and Match dinners to accompany all of the desserts. Why not? I’m making dinner every night…I might as well snap a few pictures and blog about it. This first dinner, is a staple in our house. It’s quick, it’s satisfying, it’s super, super yummy and it can be eaten by itself as a vegetarian meal or served along side a piece of chicken, steak or fish as a side dish. It’s Mexican Risotto.
Here’s the thing…I make all of my desserts from mixes and boxes, however, none of my dinners come from a box. I make healthful, quick and satisfying dinners every night from scratch…you won’t find a starter box of Hamburger Helper, Mac and Cheese, etc. in my kitchen…just yummy staples that make fabulous dinners. I adapted this recipe out of one of my favorite cookbooks, The Ultimate Cooking Light recipe book.
Risotto has a reputation for being complicated and hard, but once you see how easy it is, it will become a staple in your house too. Plus, you can mix and match it a million different ways. This is Mexican risotto but the possibilities are endless.
Chopped bell pepper, garlic and green onion are the stars of this dish
Arborio rice is what makes risotto, well risotto. You’ll need a cup.
Ahhh…the finished product. Yummy, cheesy, a hint of Mexican flavor, loads of veggies…so fantastic (we use extra green onions in our family but feel free to reduce the amount for yours).
1 cup Arborio rice
2 quarts chicken stock (not broth, stock…use veggie stock if you’re making this a vegetarian dish)
1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
3-6 (depending on your love for garlic) chopped garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Cumin
2 tsp ground Coriander
1 cup frozen corn (fresh if it’s in season)
1/2 cup shredded Monetary Jack cheese
1 bunch of green onions, chopped (two if you’re my family)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper, of course!
This meal should take you about 30 minutes from start to finish. Relax…risotto is a cinch!
In a large stock pot, bring chicken stock up to low simmer (not boiling, just a simmer…keep a lid on it to trap liquid inside)
In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, add bell pepper and saute 6-7 minutes. Add in garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in rice for another minute. Add cumin and coriander. Stir.
At this point, take a ladle and add 1 cup of your hot stock to the rice. Stir constantly for a minute or so. As the liquid evaporates, the rice will become super starchy and delicious. Stir pretty often, adding stock every time the majority of the liquid evaporates. You will continue doing this for about 18 minutes. Add stock, stir, wait for it to evaporate and add more. This will cause the risotto to fluff up and look creamy (without using any cream!) A lot of recipes will tell you to stir continuously…but you don’t need to. Just stir it around every few minutes and you’ll be fine.
After the rice is tender (take a bite!), stir in frozen corn and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes. Stir in cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste and top with green onions.
(Mix and Match this recipe up…add different veggies, use different spices, toss in a variety of cheeses…make it yours…your family will love it!)
What to serve with it…
Grab a bag of mixed greens at the grocery store, add some dried cherries and a little blue cheese…top with your favorite dressing. Simple and delicious. The perfect pairing to your flavorful risotto.
And just for grins…Kensington helped me make the Mexican risotto. She loves adding the veggies and stirring as we go. Love this girl!