Monday, August 17, 2009

Asparagus Risotto Mockery

I have been wanting to make this for a while now--it always sounds soooo tempting. I've seen a few different recipes for mock risotto, most of them involving asparagus. So eeny-meeny-miney-moe this one from the Food Network looked easiest, so that's the one I chose. Plus it had PEAS!! Love those!

This was a little more time-intensive than most of my dinners, but fairly simple to put together nonetheless. It looked so good and creamy when I dished it up and I was so excited...

....meh. It wasn't that great! Boo! The risotto did look beautiful, but the texture wasn't as creamy as I'd hoped, and it was actually kind of bland. Not really a mock risotto, more like risotto mockery!

The recipe makes a ton, so D and I had it later in the week and I doctored mine up with mucho red pepper flakes, parsley and the wonderful addition of chickpeas. SO much better! D liked his the first and second time around (I added chopped ham to his bowl for the encore performance). He said it reminded him of a rice and Campbell's-type casserole. Um, I don't think that's what they were going for!

  • Add some sort of extra protein like an egg a la Jenna (which I did the first time for D), chickpeas, lentils or chopped meat for flavor and balance
  • Try using Light Laughing Cow cheese instead of the cream cheese. I think this might improve the texture a little. The garlic and herb flavor would be great.
  • Get biz-zay with the spices! This would be lovely with a little rosemary and thyme or basil. Try some more Italian-style seasonings or pour on the red pepper flakes like I did and add garlic. I think almost any spice addition would be better than leaving the recipe as-is.
  • Add a little more liquid and stir the rice even though it says not to before adding the vegetables. I don't know if this would work, but I think it might bring out the starches in the rice a little more and give the risotto a more traditional texture.
  • Another thing I will try next time is using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I think the veggie broth usually has a lot more flavor versus chicken, which obviously, is kind of bland.
All in all, this recipe wasn't terrible, so I think I will try it again in the future with some of the modifications listed above. I really think it could be DE-lish with a little more experimentation! If any of you try this, be sure to let me know how you put your individual twist on it. Also, don't forget to send me your personal power play songs here! Race day is less than a week away!

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