Five Ways to Serve Ratatouille, Part II

As mentioned on yesterday’s post, I’m offering five ways to serve ratatouille over the next few days. Here’s today’s ratatouille: As a vegetarian main dish, sided with Risotto.

Actually, this risotto isn’t truly a risotto, as it requires a minimum amount of stirring. It’s from my book; the recipe is called “Rice Cremeux.” Like risotto, it’s nicely creamy, but it works better as a side dish because it’s firm enough to be served on a plate with a main dish, rather than in a separate bowl, like most risottos.


As you can see, I served it with corn on the cob.* Here’s the recipe for the not-quite-risotto:

Rice Crémeux (Creamy Rice, a.k.a. “Almost Risotto.”)

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère, Pyrénées sheep’s milk cheese (such as Ossau-Iraty or Petit Basque), or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons finely snipped fines herbes or fresh snipped parsley

1. Melt the butter in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat; add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender but not brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes more (the rice should be nicely coated with butter and just starting to cook, but not yet brown). Stir in the chicken broth and season with pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice has absorbed most of the broth but is still somewhat soupy, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, until the rice is thick and creamy rather than soupy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and, if you like, the herbs.


* So, do the French eat corn on the cob? Not quite like we do. But I always say, just because the French don’t do something, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. On another note, if you want a great recipe for a French way with fresh corn, try my Corn and Radish Salad.

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