Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Finest Comfort Food

Hello again!  On Friday, I promised my new go-to risotto recipe and here it is at last.  What is risotto?  Risotto is a creamy Italian dish made from short grain rice.  While delicious, it is often labor intensive and requires constant stirring to achieve that perfect bite.  Luckily for you, I've identified a secret to making that perfect risotto dish.  A slow cooker.

Arborio rice, chicken broth, sauteed leeks and wine are heated together over the course of three hours.  During the last thirty minutes of cooking, half and half and fresh mozzarella are added.  The risotto comes out perfectly, allowing you the extra time to prepare the rest of your meal.

If my kitchen walls could talk: If you've never cooked with leeks before, the process can seem very daunting.  The key point to remember is that leeks are similar to large versions of green onions.  Just like green onions, they can also be sandy and dirty, something you clearly do not want to end up in your risotto.  Make sure to clean them thoroughly with water prior to making this dish.  Still a little nervous?  Check out this video from Real Simple!

Feeling confident?  Let's start cooking. 

Slow Cooker Mozzarella Leek Risotto


2 cups leeks, chopped
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup chardonnay
1/2 cup water
32 oz chicken broth, low sodium
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup half and half
8 oz fresh mozzarella, diced

1. Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick spray. Set aside.
2. In large saucepan over medium heat, saute leeks and 2 tbsp grapeseed oil until tender, about five minutes.
3. Add arborio rice, lightly toast, about 2 minutes.  Add wine, stirring until evaporated.  Turn off heat.
4. Add rice mixture, water, chicken broth and salt to the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine.  Heat over high for three hours, lightly stir mixture every hour.
5. Turn slow cooker to low and change time setting to thirty minutes.  Add half and half along with fresh mozzarella, stir until distributed.
6. Once time has passed, turn slow cooker to off, as opposed to warm setting, to prevent further cooking.

Looking for risotto as a main dish?  Top with a protein such as edamame or sliced grilled chicken.  Stir in cooked peas or bacon. 

Wanting to take this side out of the ballpark? Drizzle with truffle oil or balsamic vinegar prior to serving. 

What's your favorite risotto? 

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