Lemony Pea and Artichoke Risotto
As a dietitian, I always try and stay on top of the latest nutrition news, food safety scares, and relevant research, so I’m well aware of the latest fears and concerns over arsenic in our rice. As a result, I’ve made a conscious effort to eat less rice. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I cooked it. One of the best ways to ensure a healthy diet is to eat a wide variety of foods, and when people ask me if they should stop eating rice all together, I tell them it’s a great opportunity to incorporate new grains into their diet: farro, barley, bulgur, quinoa, etc. The more variety consumed from other whole grains, the less exposure to arsenic levels in rice.
But sometimes a girl just wants rice.
I keep thinking of my perfect-for-winter rice cooker risotto, and while I could use other whole grains in place of rice, I really wanted that fluffy texture and mild taste from rice. So I cracked open a box of brown rice, and got cooking. This goes along with my philosophy that no one food is going to make or break your diet, and all foods fit in moderation.
2 cups brown rice
8oz soy mozzarella cheese
1 bag frozen artichoke hearts (pre-cut into quarters)
2 cups frozen peas
zest and juice from one lemon
4c vegetable broth
Technically speaking, this isn’t really risotto since I’m not using short-grain white rice or arborio rice, but in my opinion, the cheese plus rice combo gets close enough. The rice cooker eliminates the need to stand over the stove constantly stirring the risotto, so this is a great set-it-and-forget-it meal.
Place all ingredients in your rice cooker except the frozen peas. Set your rice cooker according to manufacturers directions (mine has a brown rice setting I use) and walk away! Once the rice has cooked, about two hours, add in the frozen peas, which will instantly defrost from the hot rice. I don’t like to include the peas initially because they tend to turn mushy and brown during the cooking process. Stir before serving.
I love the lemony flavor and the pop from the peas, not to mention the complete ease of tossing together this insanely comforting meal.