For me risotto has always been the ultimate comfort food. And when I first found out that I was histamine intolerant and no longer could have cheese I saw my beloved risotto go bye bye. But after some time, trials, and some inspiration from Gwyneth Paltrow. I have now found a great basic recipe for risotto that I can then very on depending on the season and my mood. The basic recipe is adapted from the risotto recipe from a cookbook by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen called “IT’S ALL GOOD”. I have mentioned this cookbook before in another post (“Black Rice with Green Veggies and Fish“), and I think these two different rice recipes are the once I make use of most from this cookbook.
Even though this is a comfort food type of recipe it is still packed with veggies. And like me, my kids love risotto too, so they get quite some “hidden veggies” on risotto night, which is a double bonus. For the risotto you start with sautéing some finely chopped white onions and a finely chopped leek with a bit of oil in a pan (use a thick bottom pan for the best result). If you don’t tolerate leeks you can leave it out or replace it with some extra onion and some garlic, if tolerated. I sadly don’t tolerated garlic very well at the moment, so you won’t find it in many of my recipes. But I hope to be able to reintroduce it soon. If you have no problems with garlic, please use it as garlic has many wonderful qualities other than bringing some extra flavor to your food. Cook the onion and leek for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Season with a bit of salt and thyme. If you want to add garlic to this dish, now is the time. Cook for another minute or two, to get the aromas going.
Add the rice to the veggies and fry them for couple of minutes, under constant stirring. I usually use Arborio rice, as it is the type of risotto rice most commonly sold here in the Netherlands where I live. Then pour in the vegetable bouillon, give it a good stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. At this stage, it really doesn’t look like much. Bring it to a simmer, turn down the heat and cover the pan with a lid. And then you just let it stand for about 30 minutes and let it cook. Years ans years ago I used to add small amounts of liquid at a time and then stir until all the liquid was absorbed by the rice, and then repeat until all the bouillon was added. Which honestly made me not want to make risotto. But then, about 10 years ago, I read a recipe for risotto in some diet book (I have forgotten what it was called, and I don’t have the book anymore) , where all of the liquid was added at once and then just simmers for 30 minutes with no stirring. I have never cooked risotto any other way since.
Then it is time for the butternut squash. Peel it, remove the seeds and cut into cubes of about 1,5 cm. If you want you can fry up the seeds in a pan, or roast them in the oven, and eat as a crunchy topping for the risotto, or just snack them. No need to throw them away. Here is a good all round tutorial on how to roast them in the oven. Place the butternut squash cubes in an oven tray, drizzle with a bit of oil, and season with salt and a bit of thyme. Roast for 30-40 minutes at 200 °C (390 °F), take care that they don’t burn.
After about 25-30 minutes of simmering the rice have absorbed most of the liquid, and at this stage I add in some leafy veggies. In this version it is this beautiful red kale I found at the organic market here in Eindhoven (NL) this weekend. But very often I add some frozen peas and some frozen kale at this stage. When peas are added it is mostly for the benefit of my kids though. Don’t get me wrong I like peas, but my kids adore them and can’t ever get enough of them.
When the extra veggies are added the risotto needs to still be wet. If there is no liquid left at this point, the risotto was cooked at too high a temperature. If this is the case for you add a little more stock and let it simmer at a lower temperature next time you make it. After adding the extra veggies (and making sure it hadn’t gotten too dry) put the lid back on and cook the leafy veggies with the risotto for about 5 minutes. then take off the lid and cook while stirring until your risotto have reached your preferred texture. Creamy, not too wet and not too dry. Then add some butter (if you are avoiding dairy olive oil works just fine too) and season to taste with some salt.
The red kale looses a bit of its red color, and in return the risotto goes slightly pink. Served with the roasted butternut squash this is a perfect histamine friendly autumn risotto. I don’t even miss the Parmesan cheese any more. If you are making this risotto you can always place some grated Parmesan cheese on the table for the people not dealing with Histamine Intolerance. Thus making it an optional topping. Serve it up and enjoy 🙂
Deliciously creamy low histamine risotto with kale and butternut squash. Cheese free, dairy free option.
- 1 white onion (middle-big)
- 1 leek
- 60 g red kale (ca. 2 oz)
- 500 g butternut squash (about half a squash, 17-18 oz)
- 185 g arborio rice (6.5 oz)
- 1 L vegetable stock (ca. 4 cups)
- 1 1/2 tsps thyme
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 25 g butter (a knob of butter, or about 2 tbsp)*
- Finely chop the white onions and the leek. Sauté with about ½ a tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Cook the onion and leek for about 5 minutes until they go soft. Season with a bit of salt and 1 tsp of thyme (if you want to add garlic to this dish, now is the time). Cook for another minute or two, to get the aromas going.
- Add the rice to the veggies and fry them for couple of minutes, under constant stirring. Then pour in the vegetable stock, give it a good stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring it to a simmer, turn down the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let it simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
- Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cut into cubes of about 1,5 cm. Place the butternut squash cubes in an oven tray, drizzle with a bit of oil (½ tbsp), and season with salt and a bit of thyme (½tsp). Roast for 30-40 minutes at 200 °C (390 °F).
- After about 25-30 minutes of simmering the rice have absorbed most of the liquid, add the red kale, finely chopped. At this stage the risotto needs to still be a little wet. Put the lid back on and cook the kale with the risotto for about 5 minutes. then take off the lid and cook while stirring until your risotto have reached your preferred texture. Creamy, not too wet and not too dry. Then add the butter and season to taste with some salt.
- Serve with the oven roasted butternut squash and enjoy. The nutritional value has been calculated based on 1 out of 3 portions.
- if you have a very strong vegetable stock, use 1/2 L of the vegetable stock and 1/2 L of water. 1/2 L is ca. 2 cups.
- For dairy free version, replace the knob of butter with a little olive oil.
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