I love this recipe so much that I'm willing to overlook my embarrassment over this less-than-flattering photograph of the meal. I would totally take another picture right now, in better light, and with a better camera than my iPhone, but both children greedily slurped up second helpings and scraped the pan clean before I could take a second shot.
It's that good.
I mean, it's so good that two young children fight over the last few bites even though there are copious amounts of kale involved.
More impressive than how delicious it is though, is how utterly easy it is. Risotto is often shunned because of its fussy preparation with the constant stirring, the slow addition of liquid, and the stickiness that occurs when one of the steps goes ever-so-slightly wrong.
This recipe is like risotto for dummies. There is no constant stirring, no slow addition of liquid - you quite literally dump everything in at once, plunk the lid down on the pot, and walk away.
It is a one-pot, sinfully-easy, extraordinarily-healthy, comfort-food meal, AND ITS DELICIOUS enough to satisfy both children and a meat-eating husband. I'm telling you, it's magic. Magic risotto. Actually, it would be more magical if it were really extraordinarily healthy (I may have stretched the truth a little bit on that claim). Arborio rice isn't exactly chock-full of nutrients, you know, but it isn't exactly bad for you either. Let's call it reasonably healthy and just move on.
This is one of my emergency meals, thrown together when we don't get home until 6:00 or so, and I need to start dinner cooking right away, yet still be able to walk away to put away the groceries and change clothes and answer a few emails while it cooks. It is especially wonderful on those evenings when we're all a little frazzled and need something creamy and soothing for dinner.
The kale and the white beans are tender, but not mushy, and the arborio rice manages to effortlessly melt into that creamy alchemy that happens when the starch disperses into the flavorful broth. The seasoning is simple - just vegetable broth, sage, and a little salt and pepper.
Sometimes the most surprising results come from the marriage of the simplest ingredients.
KALE AND CANNELLINI BEAN RISOTTO, serves 4 as a main dish
- 6 to 8 oz kale, stemmed and chopped
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 3/4 tsp dried sage
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbs Earth Balance or butter
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans (or Great Northern beans)
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook the kale over high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, until bright green and wilted. Drain, and press as much water as possible out of the cooked kale.
- In that same pot (because there's no need to wash more dishes than absolutely necessary), combine the cooked & drained kale with the rice, sage, broth, and salt & pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 20 minutes. The rice should be tender, but al dente, when done. If more liquid is needed to get to al dente, add a tiny bit more water.
- Stir the beans into the risotto, turn off the heat, and stir in the butter. Taste and adjust for salt & pepper. Serve hot.