21 January, 2017
Eggplant Part Deux – Risotto
It seems like a lot of foods I’ve been cooking lately turn out “brown”. They don’t make eye-appealing or tempting pictures for a blog even though they are flavorful. Sometimes I wish that blogs could emit the aromas that fill the house when cooking these recipes. You know, kind of like the scratch and sniff books back in the day, but better.
This risotto recipe is enhanced by adding eggplant and tomatoes. I was thrilled to find the local grocery store had good quality eggplants available and at reasonable prices. For more information about eggplant check out this post The Misunderstood Fruit.
Risotto is such a comfort food during the winter months. I had a blast last fall learning how to make primitivo risotto in Manduria Italy. The rich flavor with a thick syrupy wine broth appeals to several senses when cooking and eating it.
This recipe is simple to make, yet some time needs to be dedicated to the stirring and maturing of the rice in the wine/chicken broth mixture. It is so worth this small amount of time and effort, I guarantee it!
- 6 cups eggplant diced small
- 2 cups tomatoes diced
- 6-8 ounces of mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 cup risotto rice, uncooked (Arborio is the most commonly found short-grain rice)
- 3-5 cups chicken broth (homemade or store brand)
- 1-2 cup water (as necessary)
- 1 cup wine (red or white)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta or soft goat cheese
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine eggplant, mushrooms and tomatoes in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Toss to coat.
- Arrange mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until eggplant is tender.
- Heat remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
- Add onion and sauté for a few minutes until onion begins to brown.
- Stir in rice, additional mushrooms if you like them sautéd, and garlic and cook another minute.
- Add wine, cook until liquid almost evaporates. Be sure to stir constantly during this phase and until rice is cooked.
- Add 1 cup of chicken broth, bring to a boil and continue stirring.
- When liquid is almost completely absorbed add another cup of broth. Keep adding a cup at a time until rice is al dente. If needed, add water when all the chicken broth has been used. This process may take 30-40 minutes.
- Combine eggplant mixture with cooked risotto to heat through. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with cheese, basil and nuts when serving.
- Don't skimp on the garnish because it adds the finishing touch and flavors the risotto perfectly.
- A perfect vegetarian meal.