Thursday, March 5, 2009

Roasted Broccoli Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes and Olives

Ah. Risotto.
Seduce me with your creaminess. Woo me with your toothy charm.
Nourish me with strong-flavored winter veg... OK, maybe I'm getting a little bit carried away. But, when a girl is as seriously TIRED of broccoli as I am, it's pretty exciting when she finds a broccoli dish that really bowls her over.

This dish was inspired by a pasta recipe I ran across years ago that became a regular occurrance in our winter repertoire. It was a baked penne with broccoli, oil-cured olives, and feta cheese. I liked the recipe because it came together quickly on weeknights. It was also an exceedingly brilliant composition -- all those strong/savory/salty/briny flavors complementing one another all in one bowl.

It hadn't occurred to me to combine the same flavors in a risotto. Until just the other night. When the idea hit me -- like a flash of light -- I was pretty stoked. I decided that roasted broccoli would be a decidedly fine addition to such a risotto, so I hauled out my roasting pan. While the broccoli was crisping up, I hauled out my risotto pan and sauteed some onions with a bit of dried thyme and garlic. I also heated up a bit of stock in a separate saucepan. This would be an excellent vegetarian dish if I had used vegetable stock, but I happened to have chicken stock on hand, so I used that.

I also pitted and chopped a handful of oil-cured black olives, as well as about a half cup of oil-packed sundried tomatoes (which I decided would add some welcome color and a great *pop* of sweet flavor to the dish). And I crumbled a handful of Greek feta.

And so the risotto process began. I added the rice to the pot. And then a bit of semi-dry white wine (actually a nice Chenin Blanc/Vignier).

Then came the stirring. The adding of stock. And more stirring. The kitchen started to smell wonderful. My tummy started rumbling. And I'd slipped into that zen sortofa place that you go when you're making risotto. Then the oven beeped. After jumping about half-way through the ceiling, I regained my composure and opened the oven door to find the broccoli all nice and roasty-toasty. Perfect.

I kept stirring and adding stock. When the rice was nearly al dente, I added the roasted broccoli, tomatoes, and olives -- giving them just long enough to cook together with the rice and allow the flavors to meld.

Then, we scooped that lovely risotto into bowls and sprinkled everything with a bit of crumbled feta. And the dish was complete. And completely glorious. *sigh*And so we dined. Each forkful evoked all sorts of crucifer-meets-umame-wonderful. And our Winter Bellies were satisfied. Which is a Very Good thing.
Roasted Broccoli Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes and Olives

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18 comments:

  1. Everything you stuffed into this risotto looks amazing! This is one I would enjoy :)

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  2. Toothy charm! ha! Different take on risotto. Sounds full of bite and flavor.

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  3. I too love the aura risotto gives! Love it!

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  4. Sounds like you got carried away just enough. ;) Looks great!

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  5. MMMMM...this lovely risotto is definetly something for me!!!! Lovely flavours!!!

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  6. Great idea. I've been in a risotto kind of mood lately, but was wondering what new things I could put in it. Roasted broccoli hits the spot.

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  7. Oh, I love broccoli and risotto, yet never thought to put them together. Nice dish (the feta gives the punch).

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  8. Oh my gosh I would've never thought to put any of these ingredients together but it looks absolutely amazing.

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  9. Oh, how hard it is to be vegan.... :) I've got a collection going, called Things To Make When I'm Not Vegan Anymore. This just went in. Bring on the broccoli!

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  10. Actually, Becky - I think this would be pretty good even without the cheese. I can't believe I'm saying it, but it's true.

    "Happy" Vegan Lent!!

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  11. Your risotto looks fantastic, but I'm really loving the roasted brocolli!

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  12. Tired of broccoli? Hmm, never! :-) That and spinach is my children's fave. The one time I made risotto they ate it and didn't complain but they didn't ask for seconds. I actually think they might enjoy the penne pasta version better.
    ~ingrid

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  13. Your mind is a creative machine! I love this, it looks wonderful!

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  14. Yes, I love the toothiness of risotto (I actually like the word too!). Roasted broccoli- yum!

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  15. Lo, I love roasted broccoli, delighted to see this dish. I crank the heat, toss some oil, salt and pepper, garlic and one has some delicious roasted broccoli.

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  16. Some of my favorite flavors in that. And I never get tired of broccoli -- even when my friend who is growing it shares and it's loaded with bugs. Yummy. At least in a risotto, you wouldn't notice the crunch as much, right?

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