This recipe goes in the "a little bit different" category. I got the idea from a post over at Cara's Cravings, but it turns out it actually comes from Rocco's "Now Eat This!" cookbook, which I actually own and which was the source of the Penne alla Vodka post from a few months back. I think I probably overlooked it in Rocco's book because his version relies on mushrooms, which frankly, I have never managed to get fully on board with. Cara's version involves butternut squash and sage, which I was immediately very excited about, but also called for pecorino romano cheese, which turned out to be a bit strong for me in this dish. So, tonight I made it my own!
TVP) as a base instead of arborio rice. The net result of this is that the dish has higher protein content, lower carbs, and cooks much more quickly. I think it's tasty and satisfying and easy. However, if you are a risotto purist, you're going to want to give this a skip, because it doesn't really have exactly the texture I associate with a truly good creamy risotto. I am not a risotto purist, so I found the texture to be just fine and for me it was a very reasonable substitute.
What you need:
3c chicken or veggie broth
1 tsp (or a clove, chopped) garlic
half an onion
a bit of oil/butter for browning
pepper, to taste
fresh rosemary- I used 2 sprigs, each ~4 inches long, and stripped the leaves
3 big handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped.
1/4c chopped walnuts, toasted
What to do with it:
Chop the onion into strips, brown in the oil/butter of your choice.
Once the onion is translucent and brown, add the garlic and stir for a few minutes.
Pour in about 1/4 a cup of the broth, to deglaze pan.
Put in TVP, stir in the rosemary.
Add half the remaining broth, stir until absorbed.
Add the rest of the broth, let simmer. If it becomes too dry, add a bit of water. It should remain quite moist.
Once the water/broth is fully absorbed - about 10 minutes- (there may be a little bit at the bottom, thats fine)- turn off the heat.
Stir in the cheese, until melted. Add pepper.
Stir in the chopped spinach, and cover until wilted.
Top with toasted walnuts.
*I used Bob's Red Mill, which I got at Whole Foods- I used to buy it in bulk but haven't found it lately. If you're wondering, one big point in favor of TVP is that it is an incredibly cheap protein source and very versatile. Of course, some people are not in favor of too much soy, but I think as one part of a varied diet it can be fine.
**Now, you might be wondering if you can skip the cheese and make it vegan. Honestly, I don't know if I would- the melted cheese plays a big role in bringing the texture together, and also provides a lot of flavor. If someone gives it a try with a vegan cheese, you should let me know! If you do use a plainer cheese, I'd up some of the other spices/seasonings.
Now, I actually ate this as a light meal all by itself, and it was delicious- it would also be good paired with a simple salad. You could also serve it as a side dish- if you wanted to make it easier (for instance, if you were already serving it with a protein and a vegetable), you could always just make it with just the rosemary and gorgonzola. But, I liked it just as is! I will definitely be making it again.