Monday, December 15, 2008

Chianti-Stained Risotto with Pears and 'Blue Cheese'

I love making risotto, and haven't done so in quite a while! This makes a beautiful side dish or main course meal, if doubled.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup pear nectar, 21 ounces of vegetable broth and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat but be careful not to boil. Once it simmers, keep warm over low heat.

In a Dutch oven, heat one and a half teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots, two small minced garlic cloves, and either 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme. Cook 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup Arborio (short-grain) rice and saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1/4 cup (unfiltered) Chianti or other dry red wine of your choice and cook until the liquid is absorbed - the recipe said 2 minutes, but mine absorbed pretty quickly.

Now add your broth mixture, about 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring constantly between each addition until all of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next portion. It is said that risotto is truly a labor of love, so expect this step to take 20-30 minutes.

Once all the liquid is absorbed, stir in 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Set aside.

Peel and core one firm Bosc pear, and slice into 1/4 inch thick wedges. Heat 3/4 tsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pear wedges and saute 4 minutes.

Place 1/2 a cup of the risotto on each of 5 plates. Top each serving with 1/4 cup of the pears (about 4 wedges). On top of each serving, sprinkle a tablespoon of crumbled vegan blue cheese (try the Soy Blue from Sunergia), a teaspoon and a half of chopped walnuts (toast them first if you like), and 1/2 a teaspoon chopped fresh parsley.

Each serving is 250 calories. Double for an entree-sized portion.

pear nectar $3.99
vegetable broth $1.49
shallots $0.24
Arborio rice $2.31
Chianti $18.99
Bosc pear $1.73
'blue cheese' $4.49
walnuts $4.69

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance