A healthier take on weeknight-friendly risotto

January 9, 2013 10:11:02 AM



I'm always searching for ways to make a healthier version of risotto, one of my favorite winter Italian dishes. 


Risotto traditionally is made with starchy white rice. That starch is essential to producing a creamy, thick risotto. But I wanted a whole-grain version. Trouble is, brown rice doesn't release nearly as much starch during cooking, so substituting it often produces risotto that is thin and uninspiring. 


It took me a few attempts, but I eventually figured out how to have my whole grains and my thick and creamy risotto. And it was simple. I just needed to add starch. 






Start to finish: 40 minutes (20 minutes active) 


Servings: 4  




1 cup short grain brown rice (or brown sushi rice) 


2 cups water 


1/2 tablespoon olive oil 


3 ounces prosciutto, chopped 


1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary 


1 medium yellow onion, finely diced 


1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered AND 1 firm tart apple, peeled and diced 




1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces AND 1/2 cup oil-packed sliced sun-dried tomatoes (drained) 


1/2 cup white wine 


1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, room temperature 


1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water 


1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 


Salt and ground black pepper, to taste 


Purchased balsamic glaze, to serve 




  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. 


  • Remove pan from the heat, leaving it covered. The rice will not be completely cooked and there will be some water in the pan. Set aside. 


  • In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp. Use a spoon to transfer the prosciutto to a plate and set aside. Do not wipe out the skillet. Return the pan to the stovetop over medium-high heat and add the rosemary and onion. Saute until starting to brown, about 4-5 minutes. 


  • Add the Brussels sprouts and apple or the asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the wine and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to deglaze the pan. Add the rice and any liquid in the pan. Add the chicken broth and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the liquid has thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, then cook for another minute. 


  • Stir in the cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Top with crisped prosciutto, then drizzle with balsamic glaze just before serving.