I’ve come across an alternative method for using brown rice in risotto since I last tried it on a fasting day. Mark Bittman recommends pre-cooking the rice for a while, before making the risotto. I still can’t find short-grain brown rice in the stores here, but if you have an Asian grocery near you, you might be able to find it there.

Chicken and courgette risotto with braised cabbage

Recipe for Chicken and courgette/zucchini risotto (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
200g brown basmati rice 183
1 tsp butter or oil 8
1 onion (120g), chopped 11
2 tbsp white wine 6
2 cups/500ml chicken stock 5
250g courgette/zucchini, grated (I freeze batches of these in the summer when I’m dealing with a courgette glut!) 10
280g chicken leg meat, chopped 133
50g Parmesan, grated 54

Total calories per serving: 410

Method: Parboil the rice in two cups of water for 10-15 minutes and drain. Heat the butter in a pan and add the onion, cooking until soft. Stir in the rice and then the white wine. Usually with risotto you add the stock a little at a time, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed and then adding more. With the rice I was using, I found it easier to add all the stock and let it simmer away by itself, checking on it every 10 minutes or so. After about 20 minutes the rice should be nearly done (taste it to check). Much quicker than with my previous method! Stir in the courgette/zucchini and then add the chicken meat and half of the Parmesan, stirring until thoroughly warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with remaining cheese.

I served this with braised cabbage:

Recipe for Braised cabbage (serves 4)



Ingredient Calories per serving
430g white cabbage, sliced 27
2 tsp butter or oil 17
½ cup stock 1

Total calories per serving: 45

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Melt the butter in an ovenproof dish and stir in the cabbage, coating it all with the fat. Add the stock, cover the pan and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.