Thursday, November 3, 2011

Artichoke & Red Bell Pepper Risotto

I have quite a story to go along with this dish. You probably don't care to hear all of it, but I'm going to share it anyway. And if you're reading this blog, then you must be interested in my stories! :-) Anyways, I normally do all of my grocery shopping on Sunday. Back in the day, I used to go day to day figuring out what to do for dinner and go to the store after work each day and I hated it. So now, I plan out the week on Sunday morning and make one trip. Well, this past Sunday I wasn't feeling well (scratchy throat, congestion), so I never made it to the grocery store. That meant that I had to go grocery shopping on Monday at 5pm... uggggh. 

I don't think I need to explain how much it sucks to go grocery shopping at 5pm on a Monday. Well, I normally do most of my shopping at Food Lion, so that is where I headed. It was not a good trip. Besides the traffic and massive amounts of grumpy people filling the aisles of the store, Food Lion was out of several items I needed, including the salmon I needed for dinner that night (see my last post), and the Arborio rice I needed for this dish (which I made on Tuesday). I probably spent 10-15 minutes on the rice aisle looking for Aroborio rice. I even called my husband and asked him to google it and try to describe to me what the package looked like. No Arborio rice. So, I was already irritated that I was even grocery shopping on a Monday after work, and now Food Lion was out of several items that I needed and didn't even carry any brand of Arborio rice.

I try to make the best out of the situation. A brand new Harris Teeter just opened in town and I had only been in there briefly one time so far, but could tell from that one brief visit that it was a pretty amazing grocery store. So, I thought to myself, here is an excuse to visit the new, very nice, Harris Teeter. Everything will be okay. 

I am on my way from Food Lion to Harris Teeter, cruising along in the right hand lane approaching a green light, then this JERK in the left hand lane cuts RIGHT in front of me! It is a miracle that I did not slam into him. I slammed my breaks on and heard tires screeching, so I looked in my rear view mirror (worried that another car was about to slam into me from behind) only to realize that I was the one making the horrible tire screeching noise and had smoke behind my car from slamming my breaks so hard. I seriously came within an inch of ramming this dude. Again, I'm amazed I didn't slam into him. And I didn't even get a courteous, apologetic hand wave or anything from this guy! Some people!

So, needless to say, that really shook me up and freaked me out and I had to pull over into a parking lot to regain my composure, call my husband, talk to him until I calmed down some and felt able to drive again. I finally make it to the new Harris Teeter and get all of my items that Food Lion failed to provide me, INCLUDING the Arborio rice for this recipe. Not only did they have Arborio rice, but they had about 5 different brands of it! I love this new Harris Teeter! Not only do they have a wide selection of every day items, but they have a HUGE meat display case, a wide selection of sushi, and a "Cheeses of the World" section (you can read about my love of cheese here in Cajun Shrimp with Smoked Gouda Grits).

Oh, wait, you were reading this blog to hear about the recipe? My bad. Anyways, this recipe was pretty good. I really liked the rice (especially after everything I went through to get the specific rice for it). The dish as a whole was kind of rich though. I'm not really sure what made it so rich. Some cheese was added to it, but I didn't feel like it was that much cheese. And plus, I love cheese. So, I don't know that that was it... maybe it was the artichokes? Or just the creamy nature of the risotto from adding the broth to the rice? I'm not sure, but it was very rich and we could only eat so much of it. But what we DID eat, we enjoyed! Don't get me wrong, it had a great flavor to it!

Well, I think I have rambled on enough for one post, don't you think? It was a good dish and definitely worth trying at least once! I hope you enjoy it, and hope you don't have to go through such an ordeal to get all of your ingredients! :-)

Artichoke & Red Bell Pepper Risotto
Published by The Pampered Chef, Ltd. in 2010.

Total time: 28 minutes  Yield: 6 servings

5-6 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 jars (7.5 oz) quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained, divided
3 shallots
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine such as Chardonnay
1 lemon
1 small red bell pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
Snipped fresh chives (optional)

1. Heat broth in (2-qt.) Saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering. Reduce heat to medium-low. Meanwhile, place artichokes into Executive (12-in.) Skillet (do not use stainless cookware); saute over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from Skillet; reserve 1/2 cup of the artichokes. Set aside remaining artichokes.
2. Meanwhile, finely chop shallots using Santoku Knife. Add oil, shallots and rice to Skillet; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until shallots are tender and and rice is shiny and translucent. Add wine; cook 1-2 minutes or until wine is completely evaporated, stirring with Small Bamboo Spatula. Carefully add 1 cup of the broth to Skillet; cover an cook 2-3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Repeat with remaining broth in 1-cup increments, cooking 2-3 minutes after each addition or until liquid is absorbed (13-15 minutes total cook time). Remove Skillet from heat.
3. Meanwhile, zest lemon with Microplane Adjustable Grater to measure 1 tbsp. Cut bell pepper into 1-in. pieces. Stir remaining artichokes, zest, bell pepper, peas, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese into rice. Top with reserved artichokes and garnish with snipped fresh chives, if desired.



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