Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Swiss chard red wine risotto

We had a partial bottle of undrinkable red wine (it was drinkable at one time, but we did not drink it quickly enough), a bunch of red-veined Swiss chard, and plans for making some sort of rice dish. What else could happen but a Swiss chard red wine risotto? I have a history of being fussy about purple non-dessert foods. They just look unnatural to me. (Except beets. I'm down with beets.) There was a red wine cream sauce incident: Jon made a red wine cream sauce for pasta, and I just couldn't get past the weird (to me) mauve color and eat it. I'm sure it was very good, but I eat with my eyes too, and they were having none of it. I was reluctant to try a red risotto, but after googling and seeing that both Giada and Mario have recipes for red wine risottos, and noticing that the red stems of the chard would likely pinken the risotto anyway, I threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it. The dish did have more of a purple cast than the photo above reflects, but it was not too off-putting.I decided just to use my basic risotto recipe, adding the chard stems with the onion and the leaves about 3/4 of the way through cooking. I guess I should have used red onion in the recipe, but I don't usually keep those around because I don't like raw onions and I don't like the color of cooked red onions.

Anyway, this was a great risotto! The wine gives such a nice depth of flavor, and the chard and lemon zest were very yummy. I have been neglecting chard for its cheaper and heartier cousin kale, but I really do enjoy it. We've got half a bunch left, so I might try making chard-wrapped risotto balls out of the leftovers. We have tried it before with some success, but we don't quite have the cheese-melting right yet.

Swiss chard red wine risotto

2 tbsp butter
1/2 large onion, diced
3 large Swiss chard leaves, stems separated, both stems and leaves chopped
1/2 cup red (or white) wine
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
5 cups vegetable broth
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Asiago or parmesan cheese

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and chard stems and cook until onion is translucent. Add rice and stir to coat with butter. Add red wine and cook until it is basically absorbed. Add broth 1/2 to 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition and waiting until broth is absorbed to make next addition, until rice is done. When rice is nearly al dente, but still too hard, add chard leaves and stir. The leaves will cook and wilt as the rice cooks the rest of the way. When rice is done, stir in lemon zest and cheese.

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