RECIPE: HEALTHY 'CHEAT' BULGUR RISOTTO
I call this a HEALTHY risotto because you can use high-fibre bulgur or quinoa in place of white rice...
...and it’s a CHEAT risotto because I cut out the steps of chopping and sautéing an onion, as well as the traditional risotto cooking process that calls for you to first evaporate off the wine, and then add the broth ½ a cup at a time until it evaporates (then repeat).
This is more of a ‘chuck it all in’ recipe that still delivers on taste, but you are only busy with it for about 10 minutes (not 1 hour) and it’s ready in about 20 minutes, which makes it great for a busy weeknight meal!
PREP TIME: 5-10 min
COOK TIME: 25 min
SERVES: 4 as a main, 6-8 as a starter or side
3 TBSP (45ml) olive oil
1 sachet TASTE OF TUSCANY spice blend
1 ½ cup (275g) bulgur
250 g mushrooms, sliced
½ cup (120 ml) white wine
4 cups (1 liter) chicken or vegetable broth
½ tsp salt
½ cup (50g) grated parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh, chopped basil to garnish
Salt & pepper to taste
3) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until bulgur has softened, but there is still a little bit of liquid left (risotto should be creamy, not dry).
4) Turn off the heat, stir in the cheese, mix well and then further salt to taste.
1) In a 3 QT (or 3 L) pot, heat olive oil on medium heat-high heat, add TASTE OF TUSCANY spice blend and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
2) Add bulgur and mix well to coat, in the oil and spices, then add mushrooms, wine, broth and salt.
Spoon into shallow bowls and garnish with fresh basil and a bit more parmesan. Serve immediately.
Makes for a satisfying main dish (above)...
...or a high-fiber side dish. Pairs well with Taste of Tuscany Simple-Roasted Chicken Thighs (pictured below)
Recipe & Photo Credit: Cathy Menees
WINE: go for a dry white wine like sauvignon blanc or pinot gris/pinot grigio. If you don't want/like to cook with wine, then leave it out, and maybe squeeze a small wedge of lemon over the finished dish - just to add depth of flavor and a hit acidity in place of the wine.
MUSHROOMS: I always go for the brown button mushrooms or baby portabellas (they have more flavor than the plain white mushrooms). Porcini and other wild mushrooms are also great, just more expensive.
SALT: the amount will always be different based on the saltiness of your stock. The stock I use is organic and light on the salt, so I add ¾ tsp of salt to the risotto. If using stock made from a bullion cube (sacrilege…but ok, sometimes it happens) then you likely won’t need to add any salt at all.
I always have grated parmesan on hand, and I buy the mushrooms pre-sliced. This reduces the prep time from 10 minute to 5 minutes.
LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS
This recipe makes enough for 4 people as a main, but I make this much even when there’s only 2 of us eating as I love using the leftovers to make Risotto Cakes. Simply let the leftover risotto cool completely, mix in an egg yolk, shape into rounds, cover and refrigerate overnight. Cook over medium heat in a bit of oil for 10 minutes a side and you’ve got a great lunch or starter!