Creamy Parmesan Swiss Chard Risotto
A bundle fresh of Swiss chard
Sea salt or kosher salt
Chicken bouillon (one cube or 1/2 tsp of powder)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced fine
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Make the Swiss Chard Brodo: Clean the chard and remove the rough stems and make a broth with the stems. (Set aside the tops for now.) Add about 4-1/2 cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil, then add in the chard stems, chicken bouillon, and a couple pinches of salt, cover this (because we don’t want the water evaporating out!) for about 60 minutes, until a flavorful, light green broth is made. Once the broth is achieved, keep on the lowest simmer—we’ll be using this to hydrate the broth and want it to be nice ’n steamy.
In the meantime, cut up the dark green leafy tops of the Swiss chard into small pieces. Heat a skillet to medium heat, add in the oil then add in the small pieces of chard and season with a small pinch of salt—cook, making sure to stir every now and then with a wooden spoon until soft and tender, about 10 minutes, then set aside on a plate.
Rinse the arborio rice in a fine mesh colander with cold water until the water runs clear, then shake dry.
Heat a medium size pot over medium heat, add in the butter and minced shallot and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant but not brown. (Note: It is important to set the flame and keep it consistent from here forward—this guarantees more of an evenly cooked rice.) Next, add in the rinsed rice and stir around with a wooden spoon so the rice won’t stick to the pan, cook for about 7-10 minutes. Searing the rice ahead of time gives it a “cooking head start”, a nutty-toasty flavor, and a nice texture.
Time to hydrate the rice with the Swiss chard brodo! Ladle in about 1/2 cup of the Swiss chard brodo, stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue this process of adding about 1/2 cup of brodo to the rice mixture, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, until all the brodo is used—this should take about 20 to 25 minutes. The rice should be al dente. When the rice is done, remove the pan from the heat and stir in cheese, season with more salt and pepper to taste, and fold in the bits of cooked Swiss chard. Stir until melted, then serve immediately.
Tip to know the right risotto consistency: As you’re stirring, scoop and drop spoonfuls of risotto in the pot. Authentic style: You want it to be kind of loose— to fall in on itself with a little soupy body. American restaurant style: You do not want it to be a stiff solid mound, like you may have eaten risotto at some American restaurants.