Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Risotto with Red Bell Pepper, Tomato, Mint and Feta

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted, but I hope you enjoyed looking at Brian’s brisket as much as I enjoyed eating it!

I didn’t cook a single thing this weekend. I didn’t need to. We had our parish international festival. The kids love the carnival rides and games. Me? I’m in it for the food (I know, big surprise). The Italian Catholic Federation hosts a spaghetti dinner Friday night which I wouldn’t miss. I had chicken curry with rice and nam bread from the Indian group for lunch on Saturday. I had chicken adobo skewers and lumpia from the Filipino group for dinner. And, did I tell you about all of the treats my kids won from the cakewalk? No? Well, let’s not mention it. If I deny all of the sweets I ate this weekend the calories don’t count, right?

I was in heaven, but I didn’t cook a thing, so I am posting a recipe from a few weeks ago, and I thought we would go in a different direction, cuisine wise. Let’s head somewhere a little southeast. How about the Mediterranean? Risotto technically fits the bill since it is from Italy (duh!),and the feta and mint in the rice really make it Mediterranean. Mint, red pepper and feta cheese combine to make this a complex side dish. I served the risotto with steak and salad. Les and I loved the risotto, but the kids didn’t care for it. I expected my son wouldn’t like the risotto. But, I thought my foodie daughter would enjoy the rice dish, so when she turned up her nose, I was surprised. She said she didn’t like the red pepper, but for me the mint was the strong flavor not the red pepper. I liked the mint, red pepper and feta mix in this risotto.

Risotto with Red Bell Pepper, Tomato, Mint and Feta

From Williams-Sonoma Pasta Collection Risotto
5 ½ cups Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
2 tomatoes seeded and chopped
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint
Freshly ground pepper

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan, and then turn the heat down and keep the chicken stock hot. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, and add the onion and cook just until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper cooking for another 5 minutes or until the red pepper begins to soften. Add the rice to the onion mixture and stir until a white spot appears in the center of the grain of rice, about 1 minute. Add ¾ cup of the stock, and adjust the heat so that the liquid bubbles and is absorbed slowly. Stir until the liquid is absorbed, and then continue adding the stock to the rice in ¾ cup increments until the liquid is absorbed and the rice begins to soften. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking adding the stock now in ½ cup increments until the rice is tender and creamy about 10 minutes longer. Add the feta cheese, mint and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix, and then serve.

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