Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) with variously col...

Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) with variously colored stems on sale at an outdoor farmers’ market in Rochester, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Food and Wine, September 1999

This faux risotto with earthy Swiss chard and melted cheese is an easy vegetarian dish. Adding a salad makes it into a meal.


2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups orzo (3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 pound red Swiss chard, stems trimmed and finely chopped, & leaves coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, or good red wine vinegar
5 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (3 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring the chicken stock and water to a simmer in a saucepan; keep warm over low heat.
2. Melt the butter in a medium nonstick saucepan. Add the orzo to the butter and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until the orzo is golden, about 8 minutes.
3. Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and cook, stirring gently, until all of the stock is absorbed. Gradually add more of the stock mixture, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring frequently, until the orzo is al dente and creamy but not soupy, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the shallot and Swiss chard stems and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the stems are tender and lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
5. Add the chard leaves and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until the leaves are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar. Stir the chard and the Fontina and Parmesan cheeses into the risotto, season with salt and pepper and serve.


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