Is it raining where you are? Well by a miracle, it finally rained in the Bay Area! Yes, we get excited about the rain because we really don’t get enough of it here. Since these types of days are so few far and between, I thought I would make a warm and comforting meal this week. I decided to cook up a large batch of my Red Lentil Risotto with Roasted Broccolini. I am thrilled to share the recipe with you because it has that lovely risotto flavor but with a healthy twist. This meal sways towards the “lighter” side of comfort food, instead of making a rice based risotto I use red lentils. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for bit of white rice every once in a while although swapping out white rice for lentils makes this dish much more nutrient dense.
Lentils are particularly rich in lean protein, dietary fiber and iron. In addition they are a fantastic source of calcium, zinc, vitamin K and potassium. Another reason I like to use lentils when making risotto is that they actually cook faster. In my experience, rice based risotto recipes usually take anywhere from 35-50 minutes to cook, which to me can be a bit of a commitment. These lentils take an easy 20. It’s really a win win, in using lentils you have a quicker meal with more nutritional benefits 🙂 I really enjoy the flavors of this dish. There are mild earthy tones from the lentils with roasted broccolini and a touch of creamy-ness from the parm. It’s really a fun meal to make on a rainy day. There is just something so wonderful in having your oven on and a hot meal to cozy-up too on a cold day. Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions via Lila’s Kitchen Facebook page, cheers!
-1 cup dried red lentils
-1 bunch fresh broccolini, halved
-1/2 yellow onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-3 Tbl organic cultured butter
-1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano OR blend of parm, asiago + pecorino romano
-3/4 cup white wine
-3 teaspoons olive oil
-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
-salt & pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
Begin with prepping your veggies and warming your chicken broth. Pour your broth into a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil, once boiling turn down to low heat. Finely dice your onion and mince your garlic, set aside. Halve your broccolini steams and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Drizzle olive oil onto the broccolini and add salt & pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, rinse and strain your lentils 3-4 times under cold water. Measure out your wine, set next to the stove for convenience.
Place broccolini into the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Once roasted, remove from oven and set aside.
In a large skillet or pan, place your butter and turn to medium low heat. Allow butter to melt and add in your onions. Once onions have turned clear (2-3 minutes) add in your garlic. Allow garlic to infuse the butter for 1 minute. Add in your lentils. Using a cooking spoon or spatula, stir the lentils about.
You will now begin to slowly add in your liquids over the next 20 minutes. First, add in your white wine. Allow wine to reduce for 1 minute, stirring your lentils about consistently.
Tip: Risotto gets its creamy-ness from stirring it consistently throughout the cooking process. How?? The movement actually helps break down the natural starches which creates that creamy amazingness. Yes, it’s a bit of work although lentil risotto cooks much faster than arborio (aka rice based risotto)!
Begin to slowly add in your broth. Pour just 1 ladle (1/2 cup) of broth into your skillet and stir. Allow each ladle of liquid to reduce in the skillet for about 2 minutes before adding in your next pour. Stir your lentils about fairly consistently throughout the cooking process. Continue the pattern of 1 ladle of broth every 2 minutes.
Your lentils will begin to cook and visibly thicken close to the 15 minute mark, continue to stir. Once cooked, your lentils will appear more opaque and soft. Stir in your freshly grated parm right at the end, allow parm to completely melt. Remove from heat, place into a bowl and top with roasted broccolini!