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Parmesan Pea Risotto


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Ahhhhhh risotto. Perfect, rich, creamy perfection. I could write sonnets about risotto. In short, I love it. Can't get enough of the stuff, no matter the ingredients. Throw some portobellos in there, maybe some butternut squash, lobster is divine, asparagus....gah. I'll stop right there. I could go on and on about the sexiness of this dish.

For the most part, I eat risotto when I'm dining out because let's face it -- cooking risotto is hard work! The constant stirring and adding broth is sometimes not worth the wait for most people.

My world traveler friend Jessica brought back this amazing, rustic bag of arborio rice from her most recent travels, so I thought, what better time than this to tackle a homemade risotto?

Keep in mind that in making the perfect, restaurant-quality risotto, you have to keep stirring the entire 20-30 minutes you are adding liquids. Trust me -- just do it!

To start, you'll just have the rice and broth (I added a couple of bay leaves, but it's not necessary).

The mixture will still be thin at this point, but heat, time, and liquid will produce a thick, creamy sauce. After the alloted 20-30 minutes of stirring and adding broth, you can add your mix-ins. I'm using peas in this recipe.

I always like a little cheese to add richness to my risottos, so after my peas, I went ahead and blended in some grated parmesan.

Finished product and official Weight Watchers recipe below.

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion(s), chopped
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 1/2 cup uncooked arborio rice
5 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 piece bay leaf
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add rice and cook until translucent, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of broth and bay leaves and simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup (our risotto takes about 20 minutes to cook from the time the first liquid is added).

Remove bay leaves, fold in peas and cook until hot, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; fold in parsley, Parmesan cheese and margarine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon risotto into shallow bowls; serve hot.

A few healthy tips I use are fat free chicken stock and olive oil instead of butter. Traditional risottos call for a lot of butter, but I didn't miss it in this recipe.



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