Thursday, April 4, 2013

Monterey Jack, Corn, and Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

Italy meets the American southwest in this dish, which combines corn and Daiya's pepper jack shreds with a classic Italian risotto preparation.

  • 1 and 3/4 cups water
  • 28 ounces vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3/4 cup vegan shredded Monterey Jack with jalapeno peppers (such as Daiya)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 3/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers
1. Combine the water and broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, but do not boil.  Reduce heat and keep warm over low heat.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the rice, cumin, coriander, and garlic; saute for 1 minute.  Add 1/2 cup of the broth mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly - the liquid should be nearly absorbed.

3. Begin adding the remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, while continuing to stir constantly.  Wait for each portion of liquid to absorb before adding the next - it will take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.

I will say, it never ceases to amaze me how very much broth Arborio rice can soak up.  Here we are about halfway through the process.

4. Stir in the green onions, shredded cheese, hot sauce, corn, and bell peppers.  Cook for a final 3 minutes.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 cup), Calories 383

Tasting Notes:
The green onion, corn, and bell pepper transform this into a beautiful bowl of veggies, making the rice almost superfluous. To that end, I'm not sure it's worth the time and effort spent making a true risotto; since the veggies are so lovely, why not serve over simply steamed long-grain rice, or make this more of a pilaf.  I loved the cumin but would add more hot sauce (closer to 1/2 teaspoon), since that heat got lost. I'd also use half as much green onion but double the bell pepper, to suit my personal preference. The Daiya cheese is nice and gooey but I have to deduct some points tonight since the long stint over the stove wasn't entirely worth the final result. 


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