Risotto: a dish packed with multiple nutrients

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Image credit: istockphoto.com/portfolio/Vladislav-Chusov1

Risotto Alla Milanese, risotto ai Funghi, Risotto al parmigiana, and risotto al Tartufo Nero make you think about comfort and delicious Italian meals. They are all equally exquisite and nutritious.

Every time you enjoy a risotto dish, you are giving your body an entire package of essential nutrients. This is because the main ingredient of risotto is rice, renowned for its content of vitamins and minerals. And if the risotto includes other healthy components, the benefits for your body are greatly increased.

Risotto’s nutrients

Risotto is a traditional Italian dish eaten as a side dish or a full meal depending on its components. The classic risotto recipe works as a side dish and includes rice, chicken stock, Parmesan cheese, and white wine, cooked very slowly.

This simple recipe has by itself many nutrients, since rice is the mainstay of any risotto. Rice is low in calories and high in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, it is practically free of sugar and fat and low in sodium.

Depending on the other components of risotto the amount and impact of nutrients vary. For example:

  • Risotto with meat, fish, or poultry increases the number of proteins. Check this link following to see a delicious option.
  • Risotto with extra ingredients like cheese, butter, and cream provides additional calcium.
  • Mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, kale, and peas in the dish increment the number of micronutrients like iron.

A word about health benefits

Risotto will not only delight your palate. All the nutrients in a well-prepared risotto dish will help to improve your health, as it is explained below:

  • Calcium content in some risotto recipes protects bone and teeth health.
  • Fiber helps the digestive system to work properly, regulate bowel function, and avoid constipation.
  • Carbs support brain function, preventing mental deficiencies.
  • Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system and lower the risk of chronic diseases.

Making healthier risotto

The plain risotto will indeed give you nutrients every time you eat it. Using nutritional ingredients in risotto recipes helps keep it more nutritionally balanced.

 If you want to make more of this Italian delicacy, you should try the following tips:

  • Use low-sodium vegetable stock.
  • Prefer lean meats like chicken or turkey.
  • Substitute butter for olive oil.
  • Add more nutritious vegetables and fruits like carrots, broccoli, peas, tomatoes, squash, and spinach.
  • Combine Arborio rice with short-grain brown rice.
  • Use light cream or reduced-fat cheese.
  • Accompany risotto with green salads.

A recipes to try at home

Risotto is versatile and easy to customize to your taste. You can start by cooking traditional risotto recipes. Then, you will be more confident to include or eliminate ingredients and adjust the recipe using your preferred vegetables, fruits, meat, and seasonings.

To begin, try this healthy risotto recipe.

Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 4 cups of Mushroom broth.
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
  • ½ cup of Cremini mushrooms.
  • ½ cup of shiitake mushrooms.
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • ½ cup of chopped onion.
  • 2 minced cloves garlic.
  • 1½ cups of Arborio rice.
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach.
  • ½ cup of white wine.
  • ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese.
  • Chopped parsley for garnish.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation:

  1. Heat the mushroom broth in a big pot. Keep it warm.
  2. Place the unsalted butter in a saucepan and cook the sliced mushrooms until they get soft. Set aside.
  3. In the same saucepan, add vegetable oil, onions, and garlic. Cook for three minutes at low heat.
  4. Incorporate rice, cooked mushrooms, and baby spinach. Make sure they are covered with oil and butter. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Pour white wine and wait until it is fully absorbed.
  6. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon.
  7. When white wine is absorbed, incorporate 1 cup of warm mushroom broth. Mix very well.
  8. As the broth is absorbed, pour more mushroom broth in little batches. Do not stop stirring gently.
  9. The entire process will last approximately 30 minutes. Rice should be firmer and creamy.
  10. By the end of the cooking process, add more butter and Parmesan cheese.
  11. Serve with extra butter, Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley at the top.

Final tips

You can make a new whole risotto by adding different vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, or tomatoes before pouring the broth.

Other options include:

  • Lemon basil risotto.
  • Risotto with shrimp.
  • Butternut squash risotto.
  • Risotto with asparagus.
  • Cauliflower risotto.
  • Baked risotto primavera.
  • Chicken risotto.
  • Seafood Risotto.
  • Tomato and mascarpone

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