Friday, August 16, 2013

Frugal Foodie Friday - Risotto with Chicken, Lemon and Basil

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This recipe is a keeper and one that, once tried, I suspect will be used over and over again. The cost of its ingredients keep it well within the realm of possibility for a Frugal Friday meal, but I must admit I was first drawn to the recipe because it used a microwave to speed up making risotto. The recipe was developed by America's Test Kitchen, so I was reasonably certain that this speedy version would work. It did, but there is one pitfall that I want to alert you to. The length of time that the rice is microwaved is given as a variable in the recipe. I'm sure that was done to accommodate various types of ovens, but be vary cautious as you move toward the upper end of the suggested range. The rice is actually cooked in two stages, and if spends too much time in the microwave, your risotto end up being gummy and overcooked. By trial and error, I've come up with a method that works for me. I have a 1200 watt oven and I cook the rice on High power for 13 minutes. At that point, the rice had softened and most of the liquid in which it cooked had been absorbed. It is close to, but not completely done at this stage and it is ready to be transferred to a pan of waiting aromatics to finish cooking on a stovetop burner. The addition of chicken adds enough substance to make this a remarkably tasty one-dish meal. Surprisingly, this dish gets rave reviews from the Silver Fox who also loves to have leftovers for lunch the following day. This is a fast and frugal meal that makes a perfect feature for Frugal Foodie Friday. Here is how the risotto is made.

Risotto with Chicken, Lemon and Basil...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat shredded into bite-sized pieces or 3 cups leftover chicken shredded into pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons grated zest + 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Salt & pepper

1) Combine rice, 3 cups broth and 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until rice is softened and most of liquid is absorbed, 10 to 16 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, melt additional 2 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in hot rice mixture and remaining broth and simmer, stirring constantly until rice is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in chicken and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
3) Remove pan from heat. Stir in basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If finished risotto is too thick, stir in hot water, a few tablespoons at a time to adjust consistency. Serve, passing more Parmesan at the table. Yield: 4 servings.

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Ginny Hartzler said...

This looks SO creamy and good!

Life's a shoe said...

I love this ! it sounds so refreshing, good and simple to make. thanks for sharing

Unknown said...

This does sound really good. I too am drawn to the fact that it speeds up the cooking process by microwaving. Plus, you can never go wrong with lemon and basil together!!

Kim said...

ou know what? I'm a huge huge fan of risottos and I think I never tried with chicken, I will for sure:)

Anonymous said...

sounds wonderful, light fresh and summery!

David said...

Mary, This is a very nice recipe! Subtle flavors contribute to an enjoyable entrée... I could use a serving of this risotto right now. Thanks and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Arthur in the Garden! said...


Eha said...

Lovely recipe but I cannot see a saving in time doing it in the unhealthy microwave since cooking the risotto from 'scratch' takes just 21 minutes, during which one can home steam some chicken thighs over the simmering broth - absolutely foolproof, cheaper, better than a b'becued chicken and one pot less used :D !!

Tanna said...

A fresh take on chicken and rice, an all time favorite of mine!! ;) blessings ~ tanna
ps the menu for the week makes me, once again, wish I had reservations at your place.

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