So, in my quest to 1. use up random ingredients before I go to the beach and 2. give you ONLY red/white/blue food this week, I'm presenting to you a risotto with fruit.
Also, it's red white and blue so....what more do you need on this festive week where everyone is constantly posting on Facebook that THIS IS MY FRIDAY and then you wish it was YOUR Friday but really your Friday is TOMORROW, which is really Wednesday, and then you get annoyed?
You need nothing more, is my point.
This is REALLY excellent, and I hope you'll try it soon. There are a few variations from regular risotto besides adding fruit. This is decidedly NOT a dessert, it's totes a meal. So, if you're one of those that hates fruit ever in main courses then....sorry? This might not be for you?
The main differences between this and a "real" risotto is that there is no garlic or wine. I think both would have been delicious, but I didn't feel like taking an extra step to add either of those things, and I really wanted the tang in the dish to come from the fruit, not wine. It worked great, and saved a bit of time!
Usually I use my own vegetable stock, and you can certainly use chicken, but my last batch of stock had a beet in it and turned pink. It's delicious, but I wanted the risotto to stay pretty white to reflect the dorky flag theme I was going for. Use any light-colored stock you want!
On the Kale, I went two ways with this. First, I thought I'd just rub some salt/lemon juice on the kale. THEN, I went nuts and added basil, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Either would be GREAT, it really depends on whether or not you want some extra ingredients in your raw kale.
To make this, I got the berries started first, then the risotto. While the berries were roasting and the risotto was cooking, I prepped the other ingredients!
So. The berries. Put them on a baking sheet with parchment paper (a REALLY good step to take if you don't want sticky berry juice in your life for the next four weeks), and bake them at 425F for 20 - 30 minutes until the blueberries have burst and the strawberries are just barely dark around the edges. No oil or seasoning necessary!
Stir the rice into the onion to coat it fully with the fat - for about 2 more minutes to keep cooking the onion and slightly toast the rice.
Now, I was using full salt stock, so I added about 2 cups of stock, then tasted the rice. It was raw but really salty, so I switched to water and ended up using about 2 cups of stock and 3 cups of water total. Taste the rice halfway through to see - with the pancetta and salty stock the rice would have been way to salty if I'd used stock the whole time. But, if you're using reduced or no-sodium stock this might not be the case for you!
For the kale, I mentioned two options. For either option, take the stems out of the kale, then wash and dry it really well. You can use a knife to remove the stems, or just use your fingers to strip them away from the leaves.
Then, your choice: You can add a squirt of lemon juice and call it a day, or you can add lemon juice, olive oil, basil, and parmesan. Both are delicious, and both variations are in the printable recipe below! When you add your ingredients, mix the kale with your fingers for a minute or two, then set it aside until you're ready to serve.
When the berries are roasted, the kale is ready, and the rice is cooked, we're ready for our final steps!
Stir the risotto gently together to melt the butter but not crush the berries, and taste: add a bit of salt and pepper if you'd like.
I know this sounds strange, but you've got to believe me. Tangy roasted berries, salty cheese and pancetta, creamy rice, crunchy kale....it's a REALLY great combination.
I know this isn't cookout food, but it's totes delicious if you want to fancify your fourth. Or your fifth. Or sixth. Enjoy this one!
- FOR THE RISOTTO
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled, and halved if large
- 1/4 pound diced pancetta
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, if necessary
- 1 cup arborio or risotto rice
- 4 - 6 cups vegetable stock and water, mixed (half and half)
- 1 tablespoon butter, optional
- 4 ounces mozzarella, cubed
- salt and pepper, to taste
- FOR THE KALE
- 1/2 bunch kale, stemmed, washed, and cut into thin strips
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn, optional
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, optional
- 1 tablespoon parmesan, optional
For the Risotto
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the berries on a sheet of parchment paper and roast for 20 - 30 minutes until blueberries have burst and the strawberries are slightly dried out.
- While the berries are roasting, make the risotto. Add the pancetta to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes until fat has rendered and pancetta is crispy. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel to drain. Leave the drippings and fat in the pan. If there are very little drippings, add a drizzle of oil to the pan.
- Add the onion to the pancetta drippings and cook for 2 minutes until slightly softened, then add the rice. Stir to coat and slightly toast, about 2 minutes more.
- Working in batches, add the stock about 2 ladles at a time. Increase the heat to medium-high, and stir the stock into the rice until absorbed, then add more stock/water. Taste about halfway through for saltiness. If the rice isn't very salty, add more stock. If the rice is very salty, add water for a few rounds.
- When the rice is cooked through, after about 25 minutes, add the pancetta, butter, and most of the berries to the risotto. Fold in carefully and taste: add salt and pepper to your preference.
- Top the risotto with mozzarella cubes, extra berries, and kale, if desired.
For the Kale
- Add salt and lemon juice to kale. Add any other of the optional ingredients. Using your fingers, mix together for a minute or two to incorporate seasonings into the kale. Let sit for a few minutes until ready to use. This kale can be made the day in advance as well.
- Two options for the kale - doctor it as much or as little as you'd like!
- To save time, I start the berries in the oven, then the risotto. Once I get to the add stock, stir, repeat part of the risotto, I cube the cheese and prep the kale. The entire meal comes together in less than an hour!
- Serving Size: 4
Shared with Weekend Potluck!