Have you ever had risotto? Some people pronounce it “ree·sot·tow” but the Italians who originated it say “ree- zawt-taw” which is even better. It’s creamy, it’s garlicky, smooth, it’s savoury, and just damn tasty. Have you ever made risotto? No?
Me neither. And I still don’t know how.
So, although I’ve only ever had risotto ONCE in my life, last night that’s what I wanted. But I didn’t have time to learn how to make it proper nor did I have the ingredients/patience. So I made something risotto-esque instead and it worked perfectly! Some may say that I butchered a good dish or that I didn’t even come close, and both of which may be true, but I think this is an homage to the tasty ree-zaw-taw-tows of traditionalists. One thing to thank for this dish was that I roasted a bulb of garlic a couple of days earlier and had it waiting for me! Have you ever roasted garlic? Seriously, do it. If you’re ever bored, go do that and you’ll never regret it and will instantly feel productive.
Wanna know how to make both?! 🙂
How to Roast Garlic + Kale, Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto-esque
How to Roast Garlic
Roasting Garlic is a total game changer. It takes your garlic and makes it smooth, mellow, deeply flavoured and turns the cloves into butter- you can literally pop each clove out and almost spread it on toast! You can pop them in your mouth and eat them as is, too! Seriously, it’s no longer strong and potent, but tastes rich and amazing. It takes time, but is so easy that you prep it, toss it into your oven, set a timer, forget it and voila!
-Here’s what you do: take a whole head of fresh garlic. Yup. the whole bulb! Take a knife and cut the top peak of your bulb off so that you can see the top of each little garlic clove. Keep the peel on, don’t do anything but chop off the top pointy part (the roots on the bottom stays, too).
-Put the little bugger on a square of aluminum foil, drizzle a teeny bit of oil over the top, wrap the foil around the bulb and throw it in the oven on 350 and set a timer for 45 minutes.
-Take it out, open up, allow to cool, and pop your garlic cloves out and taste! Amazing. Keeps well in the fridge, or even pop in a glass mason jar and cover with a bit more of your oil and have roasted garlic PLUS roasted-garlic-infused-oil at your fingertips! Perfect for pasta or salad dressing! Also perfecto for risotto-esque!!
Kale, Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto-esque
-Start your rice! I used minute brown rice and cooked 1c on the stove as per the box’s instructions.
-Next, get a large frying pan or wok, turn it to medium heat and add a bit of oil to your pan.
-Wash and “shuck”/de-stem a small bunch of Kale, and chop into bite-sized pieces
*My raw kale leaves equalled a heaping soup bowl-full. Also note that your kale will shrink when cooking and you can always chop more later. Spinach can also be used instead of kale.
-Add your kale and sautee for a couple of minutes until wilted and cooked through (it only takes a couple of minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
-Heat another small bit of oil in your wok/frying pan and add one diced white onion, and a bunch of sliced fresh white mushrooms (about five or six mushrooms, but adjust to your taste- more is always better!).
*Fresh mushrooms are usually easy to get and I’m not sure how canned mushrooms will work as they’re really star in this dish, but if that’s all you can find, rinse them well and tell me how it goes!
-Add 4-5 chopped cloves of you roasted garlic (remember, it’s not as strong in flavour as raw garlic) and a heavy splash of white wine (I used cooking wine). Allow your onions, mushrooms and garlic cook on medium-low and take in all of the winey goodness and get their flavours moving (sautee for 5-10 minutes, lowering heat if needed). Add salt and pepper to taste.
-Next, wash a small bunch of asparagus and get rid of their tough-bottom portion (hold both ends of your asparagus and snap off the bottoms- the stalks will break at their natural hard point if you allow it). Chop them into small pieces and add to your pan, along with another splash of white wine. Stir and simmer on low for another 5 minutes or until your asparagus is cooked through.
*Asparagus should be a brighter green and soft, but still keeping a bit of a crunch when cooked!
*Also note that asparagus will make your pee smell funny. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal and ok! (Is this inappropriate? Nah. Weird? YES! )
-Add your cooked rice to your frying pan, fold everything together, and add another small splash of white wine. Add a generous helping or fresh or powdered parmesan cheese and 1/2 c grated mozzarella cheese. Stir to incorporate and serve hot!
***You can make this vegan and therefore cheese-free, but it will taste quite different but still really great! I’d recommend adding a wedge of lemon to serve with or add a splash of lemon juice! Yum!
Goes great with garlic bread (another way to use that roasted garlic!), and even better with wine! Serves two very hungry people, or can go further if served with salad and whatnot! If you want to make more, up the rice and adjust veggies accordingly! Enjoy!