Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
In classic white risotto, active stirring coaxes the rice to release its starch, giving the dish its signature creamy, luxurious texture. It requires some culinary sleight of hand to render a risotto that's creamy when you use whole grains, but it's not hard to do. This colorful and festive dish is chock full of thyme-roasted sweet cherry tomatoes, baby bell peppers and tiny zucchinis, chard, endearing mini pattypan squash, and a sprinkling of marvelous brine-cured Lebanese olives ~ all scented with a heavy hit of basil. Perfect for a holiday table or any occasion for a scrumptious supper or elegant luncheon.
Prep time overnight soaking + 30 minutes Cook time 75 minutes Serves 4-6
2 cups short-grain brown rice or whole einkorn, emmer, barley
Handful of fresh hardy herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary etc.)
1 cup steel-cut oat groats to yield 3-4 cups cooked porridge
2 quarts no-sodium veggie broth
1 large red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cherry tomatoes, any color, sliced in half
1 pound mixed baby bell peppers
1 pound baby zucchini, halved
1 pound pattypan, halved and if larger, quartered
1 bunch Swiss chard leaves, cut chiffonade (save the lower stems for another use)
⅓ cup mix of good quality brine-cured olives (unpitted)
1½ packed cups fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade
Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped chives, roughly ground dehydrated mixed veggies, and nutritional yeast (nooch).
Preheat oven to 385°F/195°C.
Simmer oats in 4 cups of water, stirring frequently to thicken and maximize their creaminess. Cool. Purée in a food processor or high-speed blended for smoother texture, if required. Set aside.
Wash peppers. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment for 20-30 minutes or until they soften and begin to brown. Cool and remove stems. Peppers should be bite-sized. Slice any larger ones in half or quarters. Set aside. No need to remove seeds.
Wash tomatoes, halve and bake, cut side facing up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, lined with parchment, for 30-40 minutes or until softened and carmelized. Set aside.
Gently simmer rice/grains in 1 quart of the broth to which you’ve added the hardy herbs to partially cook.
Hint: Soaking your rice or and especially harder grains like wheat varieties and whole barley and rye in cool water the night before will begin germination, soften their seed coat and significantly reduce cooking time.
Parcook rice or grains until they lose their crunch but remain chewy. Test frequently starting after 10 minutes to avoid overcooking. Drain and reserve broth. Set aside.
In a separate pot, combine the remaining broth with the herby rice/grain cooking broth. Heat to a low simmer.
In a large, deep skillet dry sauté onion over medium high heat, stirring until they soften and carmelize. Deglaze with a few tablespoons of the broth. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes to become fragrant.
Stir in the parcooked rice/grains and add a ladle of heated broth. Stirring, cook for 5 minutes or until grains are just tender. Add broth gradually as the rice/grains absorb it to achieve a moist risotto.
Add squash, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chard, stir in well and simmer for a few minutes.
Stir in roasted peppers, tomatoes, and olives. Cook for a minute and stir in the basil.
Add 2 or more cups of the oats to your desired creaminess, adding broth if needed. Stir to combine well.
Season to taste. Cover and remove from heat.
Serve on heated plates. Garnish with the chives and ground dehydrated veggies and a sprinkle of nooch as desired.
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