The Food Matters Coookbook. In Bittman's Lemony Zucchini Risotto, he parboils the rice because brown rice absorbs more water than white rice and takes longer to cook. I think, though, that part of the satisfaction of making risotto is the time it takes to stir the rice while it absorbs small additions of liquid. That effort makes the dish mean more. This is by no means a traditional risotto. No arborio rice means that the final product is not quite as creamy, not quite as rich as usual. I love the slightly chewy texture of the short grain brown rice and the homemade turkey stock made this risotto rich in a different way. Here's my recipe/method:
1 Tbsp. butter, drizzle of olive oil
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced and stems removed (saved for vegetable stock)
2-4 oz. pea pods
2/3 c. short grain brown rice
Splash white wine (I used leftover Champagne--waste not, want not, right?)
4 c. stock, heated
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
I transferred the mushrooms and pea pods to a bowl, added some leftover roasted chicken, then returned the pan to the burner over medium, medium low heat (I did not wipe it out.) I added the second 1/2 Tbsp. butter and, once it was melted, poured in the rice. I stirred the rice, letting it cook until it was coated with fat and beginning to turn translucent around the edges. I poured in a healthy dose of wine, scraping the fond from the vegetables from the bottom of the pan.
Like I said, this isn't a typical risotto. Not super creamy, not terribly rich. But flavorful and with a more interesting texture than the classic version. I enjoy the chewiness of brown rice, it's food that requires a little energy to eat. I like that. You could easily substitute your favorite flavors and additions to this dish. Mark Bittman uses lemon juice and zucchini. I might have added small-diced winter squash in place of the mushrooms and pea pods and allowed it to cook in the stock with the rice. In the spring, I look forward to making this with in-season asparagus and fresh, shelled peas. Risotto is one of those dishes that seems intimidating, but is actually really easy (pour, stir, eat). I hope you'll give it a try. Be creative and enjoy!