SO! When my friend Jillian visited last month, she brought a suitcase filled with things from my parents back home - including two very-missed Bon Appetits. After thumbing through them a couple of times, I kept finding myself drawn to the Daily Specials section of the September 2010 issue. This recipe comes from Cotton Row in Huntsville, Alabama and is a delicious, creamy risotto (with an extra punch of protein from the beans) and a side of Southern warmth served up in one night. How could it not be nearly perfect? :)
Ingredients for Okra:
- 1/2 C 1/2-inch pieces trimmed fresh okra (I had to use frozen, but was tickled I could find even that out here!)
- 1/2 C buttermilk
- 1/2 C yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 C olive oil
Ingredients for Risotto:
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3/4 C (packed) 1/2-inch squares Swiss chard (from about 3 large leaves)
- 4 C low-salt chicken broth
- 2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 C chopped onion
- 3/4 C arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
- 1/4 C dry white wine
- 1 15- to 16-oz. can butter beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
- Preheat oven to 375. Place okra in small bowl; pour buttermilk over. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain off buttermilk.
- Place cornmeal in medium bowl. Mix in salt and pepper. Add okra; toss to coat.
- Heat oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add okra; saute until brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. (Do ahead: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 375-degree oven 5 minutes before using.)
Directions for Risotto:
- Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add chard and toss until wilted and tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to very low and keep broth warm.
- Melt 1 tbsp butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; saute until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat well, about 3 minutes. Add wine; simmer until wine evaporates, stirring constantly, about 1 minutes. Add 1 cup broth. Simmer until absorbed, stirring almost constantly, about 2 minutes. Continue to add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, simmering until broth is absorbed each time and rice is creamy and just tender, stirring almost constantly, about 18 minutes longer. Mix in chard, then beans, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon butter. Season risotto with salt and pepper.
- Divide risotto among bowls; sprinkle with okra. Pass more Parmesan alongside.