Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto & Chicken Cesear Salad

Ever had risotto? No? It's just fancy rice that takes a long time to make. Though I don't get what the fuss is all about, it's not a bad meal. My initial recipe with risotto was pretty traditional: veggies with Parmesan risotto. I was unimpressed. Since risotto rice comes in a good size container, I had plenty left over for more risotto dishes. Next attempt: asparagus and shrimp risotto. Not a home run, but better than the first. My last and final attempt with my jar of Arborio rice? Sun-dried Tomato Risotto. Much more a fan of this one than the other two.

This is a double recipe post with a chicken Caesar salad recipe. Thanks Pioneer Woman for the sun-dried tomato risotto recipe and making me more of a believer.

Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto

4 Tb. butter
2Tb. olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced - I used a few shakes of onion powder.
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked
8 whole sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and minced
1 cup dry white wine (optional)
7 cups low sodium chicken broth
Salt as needed
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Fresh basil, chiffonade (optional)

Heat broth in a saucepan. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add dry rice. Stir to coat and cook 3 minutes, stirring gently.

Pour in wine. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add in minced sun-dried tomatoes and stir.

Then begin adding broth, one cup at a time, stirring gently while the rice absorbs the liquid each time. Repeat until rice is done - about 6 to 8 cups of broth. The rice should have a slight bite to it, but not be crunchy at all.

Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Adjust salt & pepper to taste.

Caesar Salad Dressing - courtesy of Rachael Ray

4 heaping Tb. of mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 lemon, zested and juiced - I only used the juice of 1/2 the lemon
2 Tb. anchovy paste, optional - I omitted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
3 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil

Blend first 7 ingredients together in a blender, streaming in the olive oil.

A lot of delicious creaminess going on in this meal.

I knew I needed to add some sort of meat to this dish - whether it be on the salad or on the risotto. And side note, risotto works great as a side dish or a main meal. I really like this risotto just because I like sun-dried tomatoes so much. When I make this again, I would probably omit the heavy cream at the end as it just makes it that much heavier and I would add even more sun-dried tomatoes. Because, well, you can't have enough of those things.

I will warn you, this makes a lot of risotto. So plan on having some for the next few days. The dressing on the other hand, is about enough for two main salad meals. It'll last longer if you just do side salads. But this is a great Caesar salad dressing - creamy, rich, tangy. All this salad needed was some Parmesan cheese shavings and it would've been amazing.

The risotto does take about an hour total to cook since you have to add broth and let it soak into the rice and repeat until done. If you have the patience, give this risotto a try. But definitely give the salad dressing a try since that only takes like 5 minutes to make. No raw eggs and no anchovies!

Happy cooking!

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