Saturday, January 15, 2011

Brown Rice Rizzuto

Brown rice what?

As much as the title may at first appear to be the result of a guy from New Jersey trying to spell “risotto” from how the word sounds, it’s not. This is the side-dish follow-up to last week’s Italian-style breaded fish article, and a brief explanation of its origins before we get to the recipe is probably in order.

If you cook risotto, a rich (and heavenly!) rice dish, regardless of where you learned how, the first thing you were taught about it almost certainly was this: regular rice must never be used in a risotto recipe. The rice you use must be Arborio rice, carnaroli rice, or one of a few other special varieties.

When you were told that, didn’t you wonder, even just a little, what would happen if you did use regular rice? We know it wouldn’t turn out to be risotto, of course, but what would it be? It made me wonder, and there was no way to find out except to try. It taught me two things:
  1. Simply substituting brown rice for Arborio rice, and in all other ways using the risotto cooking method and ingredients, results in undercooked brown rice. 
  2. Cooking brown rice using the normal rice method, but using risotto ingredients, results in a delicious, rich-tasting side dish.

And while that tasty side dish couldn’t be called risotto, being made from many of the same ingredients made it seem somehow related. The solution: name it after the great Hall of Fame Yankee shortstop and broadcaster, Phil Rizzuto.

The recipe below makes 5 to 6 servings of Brown Rice Rizzuto. The overall method for cooking the rice is based on the normal cooking instructions for whatever rice is being used. Since I used Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown Rice, I replaced the 2-1/4 cups of water called for on the box with the combination of broth and wine described in the recipe. When you're making this, if the cooking directions for your rice call for a different amount of liquid, simply adjust the quantity of broth and wine proportionately.
Combine 1 cup of brown rice, ¾ cup dry white wine (Chardonnay or similar), and 1-1/2 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken, depending on what you’re serving the rice with) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium heat and cover. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté ¾ pound of vegetables (I used a combination of grape tomatoes and fresh spinach), 1 small onion (finely chopped), and 4 finely chopped garlic cloves. When the vegetables are about half-way cooked, add 1/8 cup of pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Avoid adding the salt when you first put the spinach in the pan. Salt draws out water and, with vegetables such as spinach, which have a high water content, this can dry the vegetables too much before they’re cooked.) When the mixture has finished cooking, drain it using a colander and then rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking. Set the vegetable mixture aside.

When the rice has absorbed all of the broth and has finished cooking, add the vegetable mixture and heat through. Stir in ½ cup of grated parmesan (fresh grated is best, and usually costs less per pound too!), then check again for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Serve immediately.
I think you'll enjoy this delicious and simple-to-make side dish. And if at some point you feel like jumping up and yelling, “Holy Cow!,” we’ll understand completely.

If you'd like a cookbook style, notebook ready copy of this or any other Kissing the Cook recipe, just let me know in an e-mail or comment and I'll get it right out to you.

Be sure to come by next week for an all new recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. i'm making this next week!!!! (this week i am already making a huge pot of black beans, meatballs and brown gravy and chicken/gravy in the crock pot!)

    thanks as always for your kind words.


  2. MWAH, MWAH. I do love a proper rissotto and could eat a big plate of it with nothing else. I could well get as passionate about this recipe too.

  3. Ah, Alaina, this warms my heart. Thank you. And it sounds like a pretty good tasting week in the Kitchen of Mischief. When you make this, let me know how it turns out!

    And Angie, thank you for your wonderful mwahs, which I always welcome gladly. It is good to know I am not the only one who eats risotto by itself. (It worked for this side dish too, by the way.)

  4. I'm laughing because last night....I'm sitting there on the couch watching TV and my hub looks at me and says "Hey! You want me to make you some risotto?"

    *blink* The hell? Random....LOL and then you write about it? It's a sign!

  5. That is cosmic, Amy. So did you have him make it? I keep seeing a vision of a serving dish full of risotto glowing with an aura and a choir of angels singing as it is brought to the dinner table. lol

  6. It does look yummy and brown rice is sooo good for you! I'm having company for lunch on Tuesday and I'm serving risotto -- I'm trying Ina Garten's oven method!

  7. Thanks, Martha! Oven method risotto sounds positively revolutionary. Go Ina!

  8. As much as I (Red Sox fan) hate the Yankees, naming this dish Rizzuto = Genius.

  9. Thank you, Kate! In doing research for the article, I was reminded of something I can offer as an olive branch to Red Sox followers: it was an impassioned presentation by the Splendid Splinter himself, Ted Williams, that convinced the Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee that Rizzuto deserved to be inducted. And if you still prefer to call the rice dish "Brown Rice Cronin," that would be ok too. :-)

  10. Thanks, Mary. It's a great choice. Brown rice has much more in the way of nutrients and fiber compared to white rice. I think some people avoid it because it does take longer to cook than white rice (30 minutes or so vs. 5 minutes), but when you consider that the rest of what's being served takes a lot longer than 5 minutes to cook anyway, the longer rice cooking time doesn't seem to matter. Since you like brown rice, I hope you'll give this a try!

  11. we made to accompany chicken breasts which were baked in white wine and garlic! i sampled some from the mixing spoon- fabulous!

    thanks again for a great recipe!


  12. This is great, Alaina! The best part of doing this is when someone gives the recipes a try and likes them as much as I do. Thank you for making my night, and quite possibly the next couple of nights too!