November 29, 2012

Winter Garden Risotto

Cooking in the winter can be a challenge for me. While it's a great time to get cozy, standing by the stove and loading up on nourishing food, I like to base my meals on fresh veggies... and our garden is pretty much asleep. I cut the last of the brussel sprouts a few weeks ago and we are left with nothing but kale. Luckily we also have some preserved treasures from the summer; frozen basil paste, garlic, jarred whole tomatoes, and sundried tomatoes (those were from a friend's garden and add a wonderful depth and texture).

A creamy risotto seemed the perfect choice for this celebration of the garden, past and present. This is the third risotto that I have shared here, and there will likely be more. I love making it almost as much as eating it. I also added beans, because no meal is quite complete without them!

Winter Garden Risotto:
  • 1 qt vegetable stock (or a bit less depending on how the rice cooks)
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups risotto rice
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, smashed and diced
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes (or 1 qt jar), drained -reserving 1/2 c of liquid- and coarsely chopped
  • small handfull sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium bunch of kale, stems trimmed and discarded and coarsely chopped
  • 16 oz cooked or canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • basil (I used one ice cube of frozen basil puree, but you could also use a handful of fresh or a few tsp of dried)
  • 1 1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prep all of the ingredients and set aside the 1/2 c of tomato liquid from the can. 

Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan. Reduce the heat and simmer very low throughout the cooking process.

Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir for about one minute. Add the wine and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add one ladle of vegetable stock and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process, adding the stock a ladle at a time and stirring for 10 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, chopped kale, garbanzo beans, 1/2 cup tomato liquid, and basil (unless it's fresh in which case add it at the end). Stir to combine and continue to add stock a ladle at a time until the rice is tender, about another 8 minutes.

Add the parmesan cheese along with one final ladle of stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

I was so pleased with this dish, it was just exactly the flavors I was craving, which doesn't always happen when I'm experimenting in the kitchen. Little Smith loved it too, but it's so dark now at his 5:30 dinner time that I couldn't get a satisfactory picture. I might add one later today, after we gobble up the leftovers for lunch. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


  1. Your close up pictures are beautiful! Very well taken. Seems like a delicious dish :))

  2. Looks very delicious and perfect for cold winter days! :-)

  3. I know those dark winter days - makes food photography particularly difficult! this looks so good, definitely one on the list for next winter! x

  4. This looks beautiful, and how great that Little Smith likes it! I hate that we can't take pictures in the evening anymore!

  5. This looks so amazing. I know what you mean with the veggies and feeling uninspired in the winter. I tend to cook many more stews, but unfortunately my boys won't go near risotto. You'd better believe I will keep trying, though. I guess that just means... more for me!

    1. They don't like risotto?! That's funny, it seems so kid friendly to me, but W didn't like pasta at all when he was smaller and that really surprised me. He changes his preferences often these days :)

    2. I know! It's so ridiculous! My boys are really weird about pasta right now. Which sucks, because it is the easiest, most convenient thing for me to cook. Must be a texture thing. But they'd better outgrow it, because I am seriously missing my pasta!

  6. Tasty! I love cooking with veggies too, and so I like to have a winter recipe or two filed away :)

  7. Yum! Adding this recipe to my "must make" pile.

  8. this sounds delicious ... will have to save this one! x

  9. your close up pictures are making me hungry! yummmm, i've been looking for more kale recipes, so thank you. btw, i read your fella likes to eat raw kale? yikes!


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