Although I think that adding green pepper is the easiest way to ruin otherwise perfectly good pizza, I’m not in general a picky eater. There are no common ingredients that I refuse to eat, I’m game to try just about anything, and I think even green pepper has its place. (Caveat: margarine and the like – gross. But that stuff doesn’t count.)
On the other hand, sometimes I do have problems wrapping my mind around certain things. For example, I love sushi, love it, and make an opportunity to eat it once every week or two, but somewhere, in the back of my mind, when I eat tuna sashimi, I’m still thinking “ew, raw fish.”
A year or two ago, I realized that I really like kale, and you might think that would lead me to believe I’d also enjoy other hearty greens, like swiss chard. But I had it in my head that swiss chard would be bitter and mushy. It took me a long time to convince myself to try it.
Risotto is a really good way to introduce new vegetables. For one thing, it’s so freakin’ good on its own, and the flavors go with a lot of different ingredients. For another, it makes a convenient side dish to a nice piece of meat, because it often incorporates both a starch and vegetables, so you only need to make one side instead of two.
I did look at a recipe for risotto with swiss chard, but ultimately decided to just add chard to my standard risotto recipe. I tried adding it with the rice at first, but I was worried that it was overcooking, and even though the final result was actually very good, I had hoped to hold on to the bright green color that the chard turns midway through cooking. I tried again, this time adding the greens later, with the broth. And it made no difference that I could tell. Once cooked, chard turns a dark olive green, and there’s no getting around it.
The earthiness of swiss chard goes really well with risotto. And one thing that’s satisfying about eating hearty greens like this is that they lose so much volume during cooking that I feel like it’s easy to eat a whole lot of greens! As usual, I’m glad I tried and managed to accept a new ingredient. Maybe raw oysters will be next?
One year ago: Gazpacho
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Risotto with Swiss Chard
3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 large bunch swiss chard, coarsely chopped (4-5 cups)
1 cup dry white wine
2 ounces (1 cup) parmesan cheese
1. Bring the broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover; turn the burner off but keep the pot on the burner.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat until the foaming subsides. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice, chard, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring until the rice nearly completely absorbs all the liquid, about 1 minute.
3. Add 2 cups of the hot stock and stir occasionally until it’s mostly absorbed (the spoon will leave a trail on the bottom of the pan), about 6 minutes. Continue to add stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until each addition is absorbed. Cook until rice is creamy but still somewhat firm in center (add more water in ½ cup increments if broth/water mixture runs out), 10 to 12 minutes longer.
4. Stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.