Ever since Buddy started sprouting teeth at eight months old, his staple diet consists of milk, baby cereals with banana or avocado for lunch and porridge for dinner. Recently, he’s been showing interest in the food we are eating which made me realise it’s high time to revamp his menu.
A girl friend recommended I cook risotto for Buddy. Risotto is nursery food in its purest form. When cooked well, it is warm, soft and melts in the mouth, making it an easy first food for toddlers, especially when they only have little teeth. In the earlier stages of weaning, we can overcook the rice so that it is more of a creamy mush, then gradually move towards a firmer texture when they are more capable in chewing. Risotto is such a versatile one-pot meal. We can make so many variations with different ingredients once we master the basics. Our family loves Italian food but I’ve never cooked Risotto before so I was a little apprehensive. Armed with a 16cm Le Creuset Dutch Oven and a sense of adventure, I cooked and lived to tell the tale.
I popped by the supermarket and located the Arborio rice (Italian short-grain rice) easily in the pasta section. It was less expensive than I thought (about $7 for a box). For a balanced meal, I added in baby spinach leaves, broccoli and salmon which I found in our fridge.
Simple ingredients commonly found in supermarkets!
Nutritional content of this dish:
- Arborio rice is high in carbohydrates which growing tots need for building muscles. It is packed with Vitamins A and C (a cup of Arborio rice fulfills about 45% of the daily requirement of essential nutrients) and has high protein content. Most importantly, Arborio rice is easy to digest and helps maintain good digestive health.
- Salmon is high in protein and has lots of Omega-3 Fatty Acids to support brain and cardiovascular health. It also contains a good dose of Vitamin D.
- Spinach is high in iron. Did you know the nutrition in spinach increases as you cook it? It will release lots more antioxidants to fight any inflammation.
- Broccoli is high in Vitamin C for preventing those nasty colds. It is also rich in Vitamin K for promoting good bone health.
This one-pot Risotto dish is not only yummy, it is full of nutrition too!
STEPS TO COOKING RISOTTO
Heat oil in a small Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Add the onion, cook until translucent. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat the grains with the oil. Turn the heat down, add the chicken broth, ½ cup at a time, only adding more liquid after the previous liquid has been totally absorbed by the rice. Stir continuously until the rice is slightly soft and chewy (about 20 mins).
Toss in the boiled broccoli, spinach and Parmesan cheese. Give it a vigorous stir.
Add the salmon. Gently stir, being careful not to break up the salmon. Cover and cook for another 10minutes, mixing occasionally and checking to ensure the salmon is cooked.
- 1/2 cup (115g) Arborio rice (available at Cold Storage Supermarkets)
- ½ cup Broccoli, chopped into small florets and boiled in water
- ½ cup Baby Spinach, washed and tore into bite size pieces
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1½ cup Chicken Stock, brought to the boil
- ½ tbsp Sunflower (or Olive) Oil
- ½ Red or Yellow Onion, finely diced
- 200g Salmon, cut into 1 inch chunks
- Heat oil in a small Le Creuset Dutch Oven over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, cook for a few minutes until translucent.
- Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat the grains with the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the chicken broth, ½ cup at a time, only adding more liquid after the previous liquid has been totally absorbed by the rice.
- Continue to cook, stirring continuously until all the liquid has been absorbed, and the rice is slightly soft and chewy (around 20 minutes). The key to great risotto is neither scorching nor water logging the rice.
- Toss in the boiled broccoli, spinach and Parmesan cheese. Give it a vigorous stir.
- Add the salmon. Gently stir, being careful not to break up the salmon. Cover and cook for another 10minutes, mixing occasionally and checking to ensure the salmon is cooked.
- Serve warm.
- Even though we cooked this specially for Buddy, it was so flavourful that Dana also finished a serving for dinner. Even Daddy who is usually not-too-big a Risotto fan was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was! This recipe is definitely a keeper. For adults, we can to drizzle a tsp of lemon juice over the Risotto for that bit of 'zest' before serving. To cook for 4, simply double up the recipe.
The cast iron pot heats up swiftly and evenly, enabling a novice like me to cook the risotto successfully at first try! It neither overcooks nor under-cooks, giving novice cooks like us absolute control over the dish. I like the fact that the Le Creuset Dutch Oven can be used over an induction stove, making it’s safer for busy Moms to cook while baby-wearing. The pot also retains heat well so I can set it aside to finish other chores before coming back to feed Buddy without reheating. Best of all, because very little moisture escapes during the cooking process, it retains the sweetness of the ingredients, making the dish so flavorful, like no other risotto that we’ve eaten before. Everything is cooked in a single pot, so there are lesser things to wash up. I was very pleasantly surprised the 16cm Le Creuset Dutch Oven is big enough to cook a Risotto for a family of 4!
How to care for Le Creuset pots?
Caring for Le Creuset Dutch Ovens is a breeze. After cooking, let the pot cool before washing. Do not plunge a hot dutch oven into cold water. While Le Creuset’s enamel is designed to be the most durable, thermal shock may still occur, resulting in cracking or loss of enamel. If there are food residues, fill the pot with warm water and let soak for a while before washing (sometimes I let it soak overnight). Avoid using metallic pads, scourers or abrasive cleaning agents on the cooking surface. After washing, make sure it is fully dry before you store it away.
SPECIAL SG50 GIVEAWAY!!
To celebrate our Nation’s Golden Jubilee and our win in the Singapore Blog Awards 2015, our generous sponsor Le Creuset Singapore is giving away a Le Creuset Round French Oven 16cm in Sugar Pink (worth SGD419) and a Baby Multi-Plate & Ramekin Set in Milky Pink (worth S$123), totaling S$542 to 1 loyal reader. To participate, simply do the following:
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This giveaway ends on 21 August 2015, 11.59pm and is open to readers in Singapore. The winner will be contacted using the particulars provided when entering this draw and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete and unverified entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will be disqualified. All the best!