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Romanesco Risotto


Oh, Risotto. I'm a rice-lover, so it doesn't take much convincing for me to have something like this for B, L, or D. Brown rice is special in that it is a whole food. The germ and the bran, what is removed to make white rice, hold a good amount of vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, and antioxidants. White rice is devoid of this spectacular nutrition (and also spectacular flavor), leaving behind a mostly starchy substance. It's not terrible to have once in a while, but if rice is your go-to grain, you'll want to have the colorful varieties and you'll want to get acquainted with soaking. Soaking grains will unlock that nutrition potential and will make minerals and vitamins such as pyridoxine (or B6) up to 40% MORE bioavailable. Can't blame the rice for wanting to hold on to that nutrition!

You'll need:

2 C short-grain brown rice, soaked overnight 

6 C broth or water 

2-3 T olive oil, divided

1 head of Romanesco broccoli/cauliflower (or regular broccoli OR cauliflower works, too), cut into bite-sized florets

1 clove garlic, minced

1-2 shallots, finely diced (about a scant 1/2 C)

1/2 t dried oregano

1/2 C dry white wine (optional, could also use broth)

1-2 small rinds of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (rinds here means just the ends of the cheese, optional) - (if dairy-free, use 1 T nutritional yeast flakes)

1/4 C fresh basil, chiffonade (ribbon cut)

1/4 C fresh parsley, roughly chopped

To make:

*The night before (yes, it takes a bit of planning) rinse the rice and drain. Then, soak the rice in water (about an inch over the rice) with 

1 T of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Before cooking the next day, drain and rinse the rice once more. You won't be sorry. It not only shortens cooking time, but it also unlocks key nutrients in the grain making them more bioavailable for your beautiful body. 

1. In a saucepan, bring broth/water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Keep covered.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1-2 T of olive oil over low-medium heat and add Romanesco florets. Let cook for 5 minutes, and then add minced garlic. If the garlic is cooking too quickly (you don't want it to brown) then add 3-4 T of broth. Let cook together for 2-3 more minutes. 

3. Remove Romanesco from the pan and add remaining olive oil and shallots. Let cook for 5 minutes until translucent and then add oregano. After a few more minutes (maybe 3?) deglaze the pan by adding the white wine/broth and letting it evaporate. 

4. Once the liquid is evaporated, add the rice and rinds (or nutritional yeast flakes) to the skillet. Give it a good toss to marry the flavors. 

5. 1/2 a ladle full at a time (about 1/2 C) add the simmering broth to the rice. Stir often to enable a creamier texture. Wait until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding the next cup of broth/water and repeat this process until the rice is creamy yet al dente.*

6. When the last 1/2 C has been added, stir in the Romanesco. 

7. You'll want to serve this piping hot. Top with fresh herbs and shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. If you're unable to have dairy, another few sprinkles of nutritional yeast flakes will do a lot here. 

8. Enjoy!


If you have any leftovers for lunch the next day, I highly recommend a poached egg or a swirl of pesto through this risotto!

*Since I'm using brown rice here, it won't yield the same creamy (softer, mushier) texture of risotto made with Arborio rice. I'm ok with that. I actually prefer the taste and the texture is creamy enough. Let me know what you think! 

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