Last night I decided to try a Shrimp Risotto recipe that one of my fellow challengers had made.  I took a quick glance at the recipe and thought oh this is pretty healthy!  I broke one of my cardinal rules and that was pre-planning!  I had shrimp risotto on my weekly meal plan but I hadn’t made it to the store to pick up the ingredients.  So I called my husband to grab them on his way home from work!

The first big mistake was the aborio rice.  It’s white rice and high in starch which helps it to maintain its texture and not turn to mush.  This is what also helps create that creamy sauce that you call risotto.  GRRR, when he came home I just about died!  But I decided to give it a try!  Everything was great up until I had to add in the goat cheese!  4 oz of goat cheese, and when I stirred it in it turned into a creamy sauce!  So I knew right then and there that this was NOT a GOOD CHOICE!

I totally failed to do my homework!  So I enjoyed the dish but spent the entire night figuring out what I could do to make it cleaner and healthier so that we can ALL enjoy a healthy risotto dish minus the influx of calories to cancel out the exercise we just did for the day!

Here is what I found.

You can find Arborio Brown Rice, which is a great substitute!

What is Arborio rice?  It is not wheat, it is truly rice.  It is LESS processed that traditional short grain white rice. “Because it undergoes less milling than ordinary long-grained rice, it retains more of its natural starch content. Cooking releases this starch, giving risotto its creamy consistency. A pound of arborio rice can absorb up to 6 cups of liquid without becoming mushy.”

It is possible to find brown arborio rice, and it is possible to make risotto with regular short grain brown rice. You results may not be quite as good as a good arborio rice, however.

As far as the goat cheese goes, if you watch your portion size I feel that it wouldn’t be as bad of a choice!

Ingredients

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 small onion, finely chopped

Sliced Mushrooms

1 TB olive oil

1 cup uncooked arborio rice

1 fresh thyme sprig

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp black pepper

3/4 cup white wine or additional reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

4 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbed

Directions

In a small saucepan, saute the onion in olive oil until tender. Add the rice, thyme, bay leaf and pepper; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat; stir in wine. Cook and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. (I also added fresh mushrooms at this point)

Add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the liquid to absorb between additions. Cook just until risotto is creamy and rice is almost tender (about 20 minutes). Add the shrimp and spinach; cook until the shrimp turns pink and spinach is wilted.

Stir in cheese. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. 1 1/4 cup equals 405 calories, 9 g fat, 45 gm carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 28 g protein

I hope you enjoy!!!