Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuscan-Herb Hummus Risotto



Tuscan-Herb Hummus Risotto
(serves 2-4)

Although the idea of putting hummus into a risotto may sound odd, the creamy texture of both elements actually creates a very natural combination. Once you’ve tasted the rich, silkiness of this risotto, you’ll find yourself utilizing hummus in this way again and again.


Ingredients:

- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 bell pepper
- ½ cup grape tomatoes
- 1 large onion (finely diced)
- White wine (dry or sweet, your choice)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons Sabra Tuscan Herb Garden Hummus (of the hummus of your choice) + more for garnish
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 links Italian sausage
- Olive oil for brushing



Preheat the grill- high heat. Slide the tomatoes onto a skewer. Brush olive oil over the tomatoes and the red bell pepper.

Reduce the grill heat to medium and cook the sausage until it is firm to the touch. Cook the tomatoes for a minute or two on the top rack of the grill, just until they begin to crack open. Grill the bell pepper until it has softened and its skin is charred and blistered.




(*Note- I love the smoky flavor that comes from grilling the vegetables and sausage, but alternatively, you can cook the sausage and tomatoes in a heavy skillet if you do not prefer to use the grill. Roast the pepper on a baking sheet in a 500 degree oven until softened and charred to your liking.)

Set the sausages aside and tent with foil to keep warm.
 
Begin heating the chicken broth in a medium saucepan until it begins to simmer. Lower heat and keep covered.





Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the diced onion and fennel seed. Cook until the onion has softened and the fennel seeds are fragrant.




Add the Arborio rice to the pan, stir gently and allow to “toast” for 2-3 minutes. This step is very important, as it will open the grains of rice to properly absorb the broth. Add the oregano, basil and some ground black pepper to the pan (Do not salt until the end of the cooking process).




Pour some wine into the pan (2-3 times around the perimeter). Allow the wine to reduce by about half.

Turn the heat down to low and begin adding the chicken broth one ladle at a time. 




On occasion, gently push the rice around with a wooden spoon (do not stir vigorously). When the broth has been absorbed by the rice, add another ladle-full. Repeat this process until the rice is very tender, and you have used up most, if not all of the chicken broth.





When the rice has softened and is nearly cooked through, carefully cut open the bell pepper and pour its juices into the pan with the risotto. 




Dice up the pepper (removing the skins if you wish); reserve a few thin slices for garnishing purposes.




Add the diced pepper to the risotto and gently combine.




Continue cooking the rice, adding more broth until the grains are enlarged and it has a soft, “melt-in-your-mouth” texture.

Stir in the 3 tablespoons of hummus until well combined. Add salt to taste.




Gently fold in the tomatoes.




Slice the Italian sausages on a bias. Spoon some of the risotto onto the middle of a plate, arrange the sausage slices around it and garnish with a few slices of bell pepper and a small dollop of hummus. Enjoy!



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