Today’s blog post starts with a picture of Pepe in front of the fireplace because he’s adorable and it brings us to our favorite fall thing… comfort food! Jessica Vu, swing dancer extraordinaire, teacher, and lovely friend, also happens to be an amazing cook! Her blog Purple Leopard Recipes has some wonderful gluten-free cooking and this Cheesy Risotto will make your never want for mac and cheese again. While we were traveling through Wisconsin this summer, the cheese and sausages made me think of this recipe so I made some adjustments in honor of the Cheese State. I hope that Jessica approves!
Dice 6 oz of kielbasa, a red or sweet onion, and two cloves of garlic.
In a large pot, saute the sausage in 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium high heat until it begins to get crispy. Don’t worry about the brown bits in the bottom of the pot, but don’t let them burn.
Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft.
Add one and a half cups of Arborio rice. Arborio is a short grained rice that is perfect for risotto because of its high starch content. It has a creamy texture and yet remains firm when cooked for longer periods. Do not make risotto with other types of rice, you WILL be disappointed.
Risotto is notorious for home cooks because it needs to be watched non-stop. Now is the time to focus. Toast the rice in the until some grains begin to pop. You will need 4 cups of chicken broth for the remainder of the cooking process. Put it in a sauce pan and warm it to the point of steaming, but not simmering. This will speed up the cooking process over using room temperature broth. Add broth 2/3 of a cup at a time, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula.
Let the rice simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Run the rubber spatula down the center of the pan. If the rice runs back together, it is not time for more liquid.
When the rice and broth stays in place, add another 2/3 cup of broth.
Continue this process until you are down to the last 2/3 cup of broth. Rice will absorb moisture from the air. This means that some times you may need more broth than others depending on the relative humidity in your environment, the age of the rice, and other factors. Taste the rice to see if it is done. There should be a little bite and firmness to it, but you may want to add the last of the broth and cook longer. Our rice is kept in an airtight container and I pretty much always use all of the broth.
Remove the pan from the heat and add 1/2 cup of dry white wine or dry sherry. You can leave this step out, but it does add some nice flavor. Stir until absorbed.
Next add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Coleman’s ground mustard
(hello, of course it’s Coleman’s), 1/2 cup of FAGE
2% Greek Yogurt, and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until everything is well incorporated, creamy, and melty (one of my favorite cooking techniques)!
Now to take things over the top, add two slices of plain old Velveeta
cheese slices. Based on the name of the recipe, you didn’t think that this was going to be healthy did you? Add salt and pepper if needed. I also like to stir in a little Crystal hot sauce
Serve with something green so that you don’t feel bad for going in for seconds. The recipe should serve 6, but good luck! I’ve doubled it and taken it to a carry-in in a crock pot and never come home with leftovers.
If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, it is very good reheated the next day, but try this instead: spoon about 1/2 cup into a frying pan with a little olive oil and press down with the back of a spatula.
Cook on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes and carefully flip to cook the other side until brown and crispy (my second favorite cooking technique when it comes to cheese).
Cheesy Risotto (Mock Mac & Cheese)
- 4 C chicken broth (or one 32 oz carton), heat in a sauce pan until just steaming
- 1/2 C dry white wine or dry sherry
- 1 1⁄2 t Coleman’s ground mustard
- 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 1⁄2 C FAGE 2% Greek yogurt
- 2 slices Velveeta cheese
- 6 oz kielbasa
- 1 T canola oil
- 1 medium red or sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 1⁄2 C Arborio rice
- salt and pepper to taste
Over medium/high heat, fry the kielbasa until crisp in oil.
To the hot oil and sausage, add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until soft.
Add Arborio rice and stir until slightly toasted, just 1-2 minutes should do it.
Add 2/3 cup chicken broth. Gently stir and adjust heat to just a simmer, not boiling. Stir gently and frequently (at least once every two minutes).
When to add more broth: Run the rubber spatula down the center of the pan, making a trough. If the risotto runs back together, it is not ready for more broth yet. If the risotto does not run back together and the trough remains, add another 2/3 cup broth.
Keep adding broth in 2/3 cup increments every time the trough is ready, until you have just a bit of broth left (Making sure you are stirring gently and frequently).
Taste the risotto. Is it done to your liking? It should be soft yet firm to the bite. If not, add the remaining broth until the risotto is the tenderness you desire. If it is done, add the white wine and remove from the heat.
Stir until white wine is absorbed and mostly evaporated. (If this is taking too long, you can reintroduce the pan to the heat momentarily).
Add ground mustard, shredded cheese and yogurt. Stir until melty and creamy.
Add two slices of Velveeta. Stir until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.