I know what you're thinking..... Risotto is amazing but it takes FOREVER to cook. And brown rice? Yep. You'll be in the kitchen forever.
And the first time I made this I was.
But then I got smart.
And I soaked my brown rice prior to cooking it.
And then I wasn't in the kitchen FOREVER.
And I had a tasty meal to boot.
And there are additional health benefits to soaking your grains prior to cooking them! Take a look here for more info.
Brown Rice Butternut Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Crispy Kale, and Bacon
1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice, soaked * see note
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup shredded asiago or romano cheese
1 small butternut squash, cooked in microwave and pureed ** see note
12 oz lean bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 cups baby kale
Olive oil spray
Dashes salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp white sugar
*To soak brown rice, add rice to a bowl, cover with luke warm water, add 1 tsp white wine vinegar. Cover bowl and allow to sit for 7 hours. When ready to cook, drain and rinse rice.
** Poke a whole in the butternut with a sharp knife. Microwave for 5 minutes, then flip over and microwave for additional 5 minutes. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and skin (if not soft enough to remove the skin microwave with a small amount of water for additional 3-4 minutes). Place flesh (cubed) into a food processor to puree until smooth. Set aside.
For risotto: Heat broth in a saucepan to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add rice and stir to coat with oil, then add white wine and cook until wine has been absorbed by rice. Add broth, one ladle at a time, to the rice. Cook with each addition until all of the broth has been absorbed. Continue until all of the broth has been used and rice is softened (keep in mind brown rice will remain slightly chewy).
Add squash and cook until heated through. Stir in cheese and heat until melted. Serve with toppings.
For crispy kale: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place kale leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Check for doneness, moving some of the outer leaves in (and vice versa). Cook for additional 3-4 minutes, checking frequently, until crispy (but not brown). Remove from oven and set aside
For caramelized onions: Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Sprinkle onions with sugar and continue to cook for ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally (something to keep you busy while your risotto is cooking). When onions are lightly golden brown they are done!
Nutrition Info per ~1 cup serving + toppings: 424 calories, 10 g fat, 12 g protein, 55 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber