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.
Don't be afraid. It's DELICIOUS.
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!
I can't get over how good this is. You need arborio rice, olive oil, onion, kale, pancetta, strawberries, blueberries, mozzarella, and vegetable stock.
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!
When the berries are done they'll look like this: Scrape them off the parchment until you're ready for them.
For the risotto, add the pancetta to a large skillet over medium heat and let it cook and render for about 10 minutes until crispy but not too dark.
While you cook the pancetta, finely dice the onion.
When the pancetta is cooked, it'll look like this:
Remove the pancetta to a paper towel to drain but leave the drippings in the pan - you want at least a tablespoon of fat in the pan, so if your pancetta was very lean add a drizzle of olive oil.
Then, add the onion to the same pan.
Cook it for 2 minutes until it starts to soften, then add the rice.
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, we cook the rice! Add ⅔ cup of stock or so....
....then stir a LOT to break up the starch in the rice.
When the stock is all absorbed, add some more stock!
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!
While the risotto is cooking, you can prep the cheese and kale. Cut the cheese into small cubes - we'll use it right at the end.
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, cut it into strips and add a pinch of salt to it.
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!
Now, butter: It's often added right at the end of risotto. If you think that the cheese and pancetta are enough then....skip it.
I, however, like a pat of butter added into my risotto right at the very end with most of the berries and all of the pancetta.
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.
And that's it! I like to top the hot risotto with the extra berries and cheese cubes, and let them melt slowly as I serve the dish.
LOOK AT THIS. The stringy cheese is totally what we're going for.
A spoonful of the risotto topped with the kale makes a really lovely meal - healthy but rich at the same time.
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.
Also, leftovers last in the fridge beautifully for a few days so....make a double batch!
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!
Roasted Berry Risotto with Mozzarella and Raw Kale
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- FOR THE RISOTTO
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup strawberries, hulled, and halved if large
- ¼ 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
- ½ bunch kale, stemmed, washed, and cut into thin strips
- ½ 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!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 45
- Serving Size: 4
Shared with Weekend Potluck!
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