Lemon Chickpea Risotto

ImageThis week was an odd one. Schedules got switched around a lot. Rush projects got started at work. We scrambled to get them started and keep them on track until later the next day, suddenly they weren’t rush anymore. Another project that we thought had been cancelled actually shouldn’t have been canceled, and I’d spent most of the day before working on the one that should have been canceled, staying a little later into the evening than I want to talk about. All day Wednesday I thought it was Thursday. By Friday, the week had gone on way. too. long.

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Even though I couldn’t shake the weirdness of this week there were some good things too. Wednesday evening saw a much-needed venting session with coworkers over pizza and beer. Thursday, we woke up to snow! A good 6 inches of it. For the second time this winter, which is about as rare in the Northwest as sunny days are in winter. Friday the snow continued and now we have a foot and half and it’s glorious. That night included getting stuck in a snowy parking lot, crockpot chili, chocolate chip cookies right from the oven, and too many rounds of the endlessly agonizing game Set (the ease of which, if you’re wondering, has an inverse relationship to the amount of gin you’ve had).

So, a weird week, but not a bad one. If I’d had a batch of this risotto sitting in my fridge to comfort me all week, it would have been better. If you’ve never made risotto before, the effort to result ratio is pretty great. No, you don’t get to step away from the pan, but it’s not a difficult thing to make, and the risotto is hearty and filling and warming and just cheesy and rich enough to really feel like an indulgence.

Risotto starts with arborio rice (buy it cheap in the bulk section!), onion, lemon zest, fresh thyme, chili flakes, salt, and pepper in a big skillet. And butter, of course.

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Everything gets stirred around a bit until the butter melts and rice is translucent. (It’s not quite translucent status in this picture.)

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Then, we add broth to the risotto, let the rice absorb it, stir, and repeat! Simple.

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Then because risotto requires cheese, some grated parmesan gets tossed into the mix.

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And finally, to add some actual nutrition and protein to this wonderful cheesy mess, we add in some chickpeas.

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Give it another stir, a few more minutes on the stove, and your risotto is done!

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Top your risotto with some more grated parmesan, a little pepper, and your weird week just got a little better.

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This risotto is good. Really good.

Lemon Chickpea Risotto

Adapted from The Vegetable Life and Joy the Baker

Serves 6-8

12 ounces arborio rice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

pinch salt (go light on the salt or omit it if you want – the parmesan is plenty salty on its own)

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I recommend low-sodium, again because of the parmesan)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

more parmesan, pepper, lemon, and thyme for topping

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the rice, butter, onion, lemon zest, pepper flakes, pepper, and salt to the hot pan. Cook until the butter has melted and the rice and onion are translucent.

Stir one cup of the broth into the rice mixture and allow to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, then give it a stir. Repeat with the remaining three cups of broth, until all liquid is absorbed, the rice is tender, and 18-20 minutes have gone by.

Add the parmesan to the rice and stir until completely combined. Add in the chickpeas, stir, and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until heated through.

Top with pepper/lemon zest/cheese and enjoy immediately while it’s warm! This keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days, and is equally delicious eaten cold or reheated.

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