I absolutely love cooking risotto, it’s the ultimate comfort food. Ever since I traveled to Italy in the Summer of 2006 I have had an elaborate love affair with risotto. It’s just so savory, delicious, and filling, I make it whenever I get the chance! When I first started reading about how to make risotto a few years ago, all I would read about was “it takes so long”, or “it’s such a difficult process to get the rice the right way”. But when I make it I don’t find it nearly as complicated as it sounds. I find the process of stirring the rice, and getting it just right to be similar to the process of learning a new song and perfecting all the notes and rhythms until you get the perfect combination of yum…..or ooooh la la. So today I share with you this Yellow Pepper Risotto Recipe.
When I went to Italy as part of an opera singing program, we stayed at this beautiful Italian villa where there was a chef on staff who made all of the meals. “Nino” the chef was masterful at what he did. I remember talking to him several times about the risotto and how he got it “just right”. He said it was all about the timing. The timing of when to add the broth, when to add more olive oil, when to add the cream and butter. It was letting the rice simmer for the perfect amount of time and not leaving it unattended. The truth is, you have to “baby” risotto. It gets fussy if you leave it alone too long without stirring. It gets burned if you don’t add enough broth at the right time, and it gets too mushy if you don’t get the ingredients right. But all in all the amount of time and care required are definitely worth it in my opinion.
For this meal I have also included baked chicken as a side with some Brussels sprouts. With your due diligence and proper care this meal of Yellow Pepper Risotto is chicken, rice, and everything nice.
If you are a mushroom fan, you can also roast mushrooms in the oven, this is a recipe for oven roasted mushrooms I really enjoy: Oven Roasted Vegetables.
This yellow pepper risotto recipe is delicious with chicken and roasted brussels sprouts. An after-work dish that goes well with a glass of wine!
- Chop yellow peppers, onions and garlic cloves on a cutting board and set aside.
- Heat up a large saucepan on the stove to medium heat until the pan becomes warm, drizzle some olive in pan and heat the oil up until it begins to liquify more and spread around the pan. Add Arborio rice to pan, stirring and lightly browning the rice. While the rice is cooking, add a swig of white wine to the mix, but don’t add the whole thing yet. After cooking/browning rice for less than 5 minutes, add 1 cup of the chicken broth. Add peppers, onions, and garlic to the pan. (some people may prefer to brown the onions and garlic in a separate pan before adding the chicken broth, but I find that it makes no difference, and also adding them to the broth will help infuse the flavors better into the rice in my opinion)
- Cook and stir the rice until the broth is absorbed. The rice should still be pretty firm at this stage. At this point I season the mix with salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano. I go liberal on the oregano because my fiance loves it!
- Add 2 more cups of chicken broth. (you should still have one cup of broth remaining at this point). The main tip I can offer for this part is not to add more chicken broth than the rice can absorb at once, or else you risk coming out with overly mushy risotto if it overcooks in the water for too long. Keep cooking on medium heat, stirring often.
- Once half of the broth begins to be absorbed, add white wine to pan. The rice should be looking a little fluffier looking but is nowhere near fully done. Cook for 15-20 minutes in this phase.
- Add final cup of chicken broth, still stirring and still cooking. You may get a little bored at this stage from so much stirring and watching, so you may want to play Angry birds on your phone or surf Facebook for the time being. Ha ha.
- At this point, the rice should be almost fully done and all the broth absorbed.
- *if you had somehow not cooked the rice long enough at this phase and you think you are screwed, don’t worry you may still be able to save it. Add a little water to the pan and keep cooking it for 5-10 minutes longer, and you may still be able to save the rice!
- Once rice is almost fully cooked and all the water is absorbed, add the butter and heavy cream. Once melted and combined, add half of the Parmesan cheese (1 cup). Stir. Things should be looking delicious at this point. Taste the rice and see if it’s soft and tender. If it is still grainy when you chew it, it’s not done, sorry- go back a couple of steps.
- Once Parmesan is melted, add the remainder of it on top as a finishing touch. Add more salt. pepper, spices. Taste and make sure everything is good!!! Plate and serve. Enjoy the risotto as it melts in your mouth. Risotto pairs very well with a nice fruity red wine, or even a deep burgundy, so I’d recommend getting a glass of vino ready!
- *You can put the chicken and Brussels sprouts to bake in the oven at the same time you are cooking the risotto, and they should finish at around the same time, so it works out quite well.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Season chicken breast liberally with salt, pepper, oregano and paprika on the top, which when it cooks adds a wonderful spiced appearance to the chicken. Prepare aluminum cooking pan covered with aluminum foil. Place 2-4 chicken breasts in pan. Cook in oven for 35-40 minutes until juicy, tender, and brown on top.
- *For the chicken shown in the photo we made a sauce out of the chicken juice and some white wine by cooking it in a pan. This sauce can be drizzled on top of the chicken at serving.
- Put pre-washed and cut Brussels sprouts in separate pan, and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes until a golden appearance is achieved.
- Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
- Finnish Sweet Licorice