OK, don’t be scared. I know, I know. You hear risotto and you think of risottos that take a lot of time and effort (like the Acorn Squash one I made a few months back), and you just instinctively shake your head no. But wait! There is an easier way, I PROMISE.
This one started out with the standard Sunday night issue: what’s going on the dinner plates tonight? We had already chosen our meat (grilled scallops) but we didn’t have any sides. Veggies are easy to come by in our house, since we stock the freezer as our default when we don’t want to fuss with fresh; so, that wasn’t an issue either. DH suggested cheesy rice, and I thought that would hit the spot. So, off to the pantry I went to find a box of Rice-a-Roni. (Don’t judge – some of us have embraced boxed items as fallback positions.)
No dice. Or, more specifically, no (cheesy) rice. Drat.
Off to the cookbooks I went, to see if there were any options involving white or brown rice, and none of them quickly pointed to something I liked. BUT, one suggested a risotto, and the pantry did have a large bag of arborio rice. Score!
What I ended up doing was basically preparing a risotto in what I consider to be a less time-consuming fashion. Yes, there’s still effort involved, but it’s miniscule by comparison to some AND it gets you a cheesy rice AND it’s got a limited set of ingredients AND it’s far better for you than the boxed option because it’s not a complete salt lick.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins
1-1/2 Tb olive oil
1 small yellow onion or large shallot
2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white cooking wine
1 cup arborio rice, uncooked
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 oz finely/”fancy” shredded Cheddar cheese
Make it Happen
1. Peel and mince the onion/shallot.
2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
3. Add the onion (or shallot), tossing it in the olive oil to coat. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the broth and white wine to the pan. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook for 4-6 mins, until the mixture begins to boil.
5. Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir well to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low for 10 minutes, stirring at the 5 min and 10 min marks.
6. Raise the heat to medium-low and cook for another 10 minutes, again stirring at the 5 min and 10 min marks.
7. When the majority of the liquid is gone, reduce heat to low, then add both cheese and stir well to combine. Once the cheese has melted, turn off the heat and serve immediately.