I don’t consider myself a slave to fashion and trends. My favorite pair of jeans is a faded, soft as sweatpants boot cut I bought ten years ago. I have never made a cake pop. It takes us a while to actually visit new ‘it’ restaurants. Eating healthily should never be considered a trend, however, I’ve fallen deep and hard into the kale love train.
Kale, kale, kale.
I even emailed “my” farmer asking if there would be any on her table. I worried because I didn’t see it when she sent out her list for tomorrow’s market offerings. I have bought it by the pound for the last couple of months. Could it be the season is ending?
While on this kale binge, something pretty awesome happened. Elena Carlo, aka The Posh Latin Cook, was featured on NBC Latino’s Food Blogs We Love. She was super kind to give Great Food 360˚ a little shout-out, and I have been poring over her blog for inspiration. On her Sofrito Chronicles series, she gives a little twist to this Puerto Rican staple I would have never come up with on my own. She roasts the vegetables that go into the sofrito to add an extra layer of depth in the flavor. How genius is that?
I had experimented earlier this month with a kale sofrito risotto – the traditional uncooked variety. It was a success. With the roasted vegetables, it’s an even bigger hit. Granted, this is far from a traditional sofrito – no recao or cilantro, but the spirit is just the same. Most risottos are finished off with butter and cheese, but to keep things on healthy side, I swapped those for olive oil and a tablespoon of goat cheese. The goat cheese lends the creaminess usually imparted by the melted Parmesan and butter but has less fat and calories.
Kale Risotto with Goat Cheese
Yield: 3 generous side dish portions
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 small onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 packed cup kale leaves
Preheat the oven to 400F°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the red bell pepper half, the onion (halved) and the garlic cloves and douse with a few teaspoons of olive oil. Roast the veggies for 25-30 minutes, until the pepper’s skin is charred.
In a food processor, pulse all the roasted ingredients until it rough chopped. Tear the kale into pieces by hand and work in batches into the rest of the vegetables, until the kale sofrito comes together.
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup kale sofrito
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
- 3 – 4 kale leaves, cut in chiffonade
Warm the stock through in a medium saucepan
In a large skillet/sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sofrito and stir until fragrant and bright green. Add the rice and cook until toasted, adding more olive oil as needed. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour in the vermouth/white wine and stir until it evaporates. Add two or three ladlefuls of stock into the rice and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for about three to five minutes (when it looks close to fully evaporating) and stir for a minute. Add the kale chiffonade. Keep adding stock, simmering and stirring for the next fifteen to twenty minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon goat cheese
When the kale sofrito risotto is fully cooked, stir in the olive oil and one tablespoon of goat cheese until fully incorporated. Serve immediately.