Oct 23, 2020

Broccoli Cheddar Risotto

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
In high school I used to love going to Panera Bread after school and ordering their broccoli cheddar soup served in a hollowed out bread bowl.

This risotto recipe puts a more “polished” spin on the classic hearty soup. Chopped broccoli florets and shallots are sautéed and combined with risotto rice, simmered in chicken stock until al dente and then folded with cheddar cheese. When cooking I always use sharp cheddar cheese in my recipes. This broccoli cheddar risotto can be served on its own, but it pairs well with roasted chicken thighs for a complete dinner.

Broccoli Cheddar Risotto

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Rice – Arborio rice is the most commonly used rice for making risotto. It’s an Italian short-grain, white rice with a high starch content. It can be substituted with other starchy short-grain varieties like Carnaroli or Vialone Nano if desired though Arborio is the most accessible. Don’t rinse risotto rice before cooking as you would when preparing long-grain varieties. You don’t want to lose any of that starch!
  • Broccoli – When buying broccoli look for firm stalks and tight florets vibrant green in color. I just use the florets in this recipe though the stalks can be saved and used for another recipe like this broccoli slaw here.
  • Shallot – Shallots have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. If needed yellow or red onion can be swapped in. The general rule of thumb is 3 medium shallots equal 1 medium onion.
  • White wine – Use a dry white wine for starting the risotto since it won’t overpower the dish by making it too sweet. While I will use just about any white wine in a pinch I prefer cooking with Sauvignon blanc. Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink!
  • Chicken stock – Chicken stock is typically made from chicken bones as well as aromatics and vegetables while chicken broth is made with the meat. How does that affect their flavor? Chicken stock has a much richer, more robust flavor which comes from the collagen released from the simmering bones. On the other hand, chicken broth is much more mellow in flavor. I typically use chicken stock when cooking. In a pinch the chicken stock can be substituted with water though it takes away some of the flavor.
  • Cheddar cheese – Always use sharp Cheddar when cooking. If you use mild or medium Cheddar the flavor will cook out and the recipe will be lacking in that cheesy flavor.

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Risotto

  1. Chop the florets. Cut the broccoli into florets and discard the stalks then finely dice the broccoli so that it is riced. You should have about 2½ cups.
  2. Sauté the shallots and broccoli. In a medium saucepan pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broccoli and sauté until bright green, about 2 minutes.
  3. Toast the rice. Add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently until toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the white wine and stir constantly until the wine is almost completely absorbed.
  4. Cook the risotto. Add the stock ¼ cup at a time, stirring frequently and waiting for each addition to be almost completely absorbed before adding additional stock.
  5. Add the cheese and serve. The mixture should be at a simmer the whole time. Continue this process until the risotto is al dente, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cheddar cheese until completely combined. Serve immediately.
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Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • To make a successful risotto, there are a few simple tips to take into consideration. The first is to warm the stock – this keeps the risotto warm, rather than cooling it down every time stock is added.
  • The second is to stir the risotto frequently; the creaminess of risotto comes from the starch released when the grains of rice are agitated.
  • The stock is added slowly and not all at once so that the rice is not simply boiled.
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Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Broccoli Cheddar Risotto

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 small heads broccoli
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock, warmed
  • cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  • Cut the broccoli into florets and discard the stalks then finely dice the broccoli so that it is riced. You should have about 2½ cups.
  • In a medium saucepan pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broccoli and sauté until bright green, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently until toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the white wine and stir constantly until the wine is almost completely absorbed.
  • Add the stock ¼ cup at a time, stirring frequently and waiting for each addition to be almost completely absorbed before adding additional stock.
  • The mixture should be at a simmer the whole time. Continue this process until the risotto is al dente, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cheddar cheese until completely combined. Serve immediately.

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