Slim and Simple Mushroom Artichoke Risotto

slim-and-simple-risottoTraditional risotto, although rich, creamy and delicious, can carry quite a lot of calories due to exorbitant amounts of butter, whole fat dairy, cream, and cheeses. Traditional recipes call for constant stirring, resulting in a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. The beauty of this recipe is you can fix it and forget it. At the same time, cooking slow for a long period of time adds layers of flavor and creaminess without an ounce of butter or cream! I use pearled barley in lieu of the traditional arborio rice, adding more fiber and protein for a satisfying end result.

Ingredients

14 ounce jarred artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
16 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped (or combination of different mushroom varieties)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen lima beans or peas
1 1/2 cups uncooked pearled barley
4 cups light vegetable broth (or 2 cups diluted with 2 cups water)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/3 cup cooking Marsala or other dry cooking wine such as Sherry
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Add all ingredients up to and including cooking wine to slow cooker. Set temperature to high and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until majority of liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper and stir in Parmesan cheese prior to serving.

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