Pasta Risotto & You

by Nancy Caivano


Risotto with Grilled Vegetables
and Spicy Toasted Walnuts

Serves 6



6 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, divided
Salt and Pepper
Cooking Spray
3 tbsp olive oil plus more for brushing
3 zucchini, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1 large eggplant (about 1 lb), peeled
   and sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
3 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 tbsp jar chopped garlic)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups simmering chicken stock
3/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, julienned



Melt butter in a small skillet. When sizzling, add walnuts and toss. Sprinkle sugar and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes over walnuts and continue cooking until golden brown. Season with a little salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Spray grill rack well with cooking spray, and preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until well browned and softened. Remove to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

In a large saucepan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and remaining crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until onion is translucent. Add rice, stirring constantly, and cook 5 minutes more, making sure rice does not brown. Add wine, stirring constantly, and let totally evaporate. When wine is evaporated, begin adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, letting each addition evaporate before adding the next addition.

After fourth addition of stock is added, begin tasting rice. Rice should be al dente when done. You need to keep tasting rice, because, depending on rice, you may or may not have to use all of the stock. When fourth addition of stock is absorbed, add grilled vegetables.

After last addition of stock is absorbed, remove from heat, and stir in butter, Romano, toasted walnuts, parsley, and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


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Copyright © 2001, Nancy Caivano. All rights reserved.


This page created July 2001