Brussels Sprouts Risotto

brussels risotto

It seems that many people dislike or generally tend to avoid Brussels sprouts, a distaste that usually seems to have been born out of childhood experiences with a plate of bland, soggy and over-boiled vegetables. Their flavor is a bit more on the bitter side than many vegetables, which might also explain why children aren't so fond of them, but these little green cabbage-like buds are very healthy and should appeal to the adult palate once given a chance. Well, even as a child I'd never actually disliked Brussels sprouts, but nevertheless I seem to have largely neglected them in my meal plans. I'm not really sure why.

roasted brussels

But I do adore making risottos, so when I saw a recipe for a Brussels sprouts risotto in Yotam Ottolenghi's latest cookbook, Plenty More, I immediately bookmarked it as a way not to enjoy a new risotto but to start to repair my neglect of this unique vegetable. Ottolenghi may not be strictly a vegetarian, but his love of vegetables shines through each of his four cookbooks, two of which — including this newest book — are entirely vegetarian. His recipes are always accessible and have a rustic and creative charm illustrated in a lavish collection of beautiful photographs.

I've changed up the original recipe, but I was quite smitten with Ottolenghi's idea of frying up some of the Brussels sprouts in hot oil until golden and crispy for garnishing the plates of risotto. Honestly, they are so delicious fried like this that I had a hard time making sure that enough of them remained to use for garnish! You'd better make some more just to snack on while cooking. More Brussels sprouts are shredded and cooked with the seasoned rice for a colorful and nourishing risotto that's finished off with lemon juice, soft goat cheese and plenty of fresh grated Parmesan cheese for a rich and creamy dining experience.

roasted brussels sprouts

Risottos tend to dry out quite quickly, so as with any other risotto this one is best served right off the stove to enjoy the full creamy experience. It's an especially good idea with this risotto as the fried Brussels sprouts do not remain crispy if stored overnight. Cooking the lemon rind with the risotto, as indicated in the instructions, is quite optional as they are quite bitter and may not be to everyone's tastes.

Brussels Sprouts RisottoBrussels Sprouts Risotto
Recipe by
Adapted from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi
Cuisine: Italian
Published on December 15, 2014

Rich, earthy and creamy lemony risotto cooked with Brussels sprouts and topped with golden fried crispy Brussels sprout quarters

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 50 to 60 minutes

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  • 1 1/4 lb (575 g) Brussels sprouts
  • sunflower, peanut or other high smoke point oil for frying
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • rind from 1 lemon, cut into strips (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio or other risotto rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons soft unripened goat cheese, cut into chunks
  • juice and zest from 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • Trim the Brussels sprouts. Take about 1/3 of the Brussels sprouts and shred or chop. Set aside. Cut the remaining Brussels sprouts lengthwise into quarters. Dry the quartered Brussels sprouts with a paper towel.

  • Pour 1/2 inch of sunflower, peanut or other high smoke point oil into a medium saucepan and heat over high heat. When hot, use a slotted spoon to drop a portion of the quartered Brussels sprouts into the pan and fry for 1 to 2 minutes until crispy and lightly browned. Be cautious as some of the hot oil will splatter. Remove the Brussels sprouts with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining quartered Brussels sprouts. When finished, keep the fried Brussels sprouts warm in a 150°F oven.

  • Meanwhile, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan and adjust the heat to keep the stock at a hot simmer.

  • Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and stir for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft and just starting to brown. Add the garlic, thyme and fennel seeds and lemon rind if using. Stir for 2 minutes, then add the rice and the shredded or chopped Brussels sprouts and stir for another couple of minutes, making sure to coat the grains with oil.

  • Pour in the white wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid evaporates.

  • Add a ladleful of the simmering stock and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring often, waiting until the liquid is absorbed between each addition. Continue until the rice is al dente — this should take 20 to 30 minutes and use most or all of the stock.

  • When the liquid from the last ladleful is absorbed, stir in the Parmesan and goat cheese and lemon juice. Remove from heat when the cheeses have melted. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Serve right away, with a scattering of lemon zest and a handful of the fried Brussels sprouts spooned over each serving.

Makes 8 servings

brussels risotto

Other risotto recipes to enjoy:
Classic Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom, Lentil and Spinach Risotto
Asparagus and Pesto Risotto with Mushrooms
Green Pea Risotto

On the top of the reading stack: The Complete Coconut Cookbook: 200 Gluten-free, Grain-free and Nut-free Vegan Recipes Using Coconut Flour, Oil, Sugar and More by Camilla Saulsbury

Audio Accompaniment: Marsen Jules


Joanne said...

Ottolenghi definitely knows his way around a vegetable! This risotto sounds fabulous!

Unknown said...

I can't wait to try this recipe! Sounds delicious!

Moni | Thoughts of a Moni said...

I have a bag of brussels sprouts that I got from the market. This looks like the perfect recipe to use them up! After all, you can't go wrong with Ottolenghi!