This post was imported from my short-lived, now-defunct food blog, Cooking With Ginger.
Healthy recipes tend to taste light and clean – full of fresh herbs and strong flavours, like Elise's amazing Seared Tuna that we've been devouring every week since she posted it. Just one mouthful of dish like that makes you feel holy and virtuous. But sometimes you don't feel holy and virtuous. Sometimes the body screams out for decadence, comfort and stodge!
Traditionally, comfort and stodge means a pound of butter and/or a pint of cream. But the best healthier recipes make the most of ingredients that add maximum richness and flavour without mega calories. This Weight Watchers mushroom risotto proved a great example – rich and creamy without actual cream or dodgy low-fat dairy. Just look at the main ingredients:
- arborio rice – inherently creamy and starchy
- white wine – just 150mL but it adds a bit of posh
- dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in boiling water, both shrooms and stock adding richness
- parmesan cheese – a scant 50g for four serves, but plenty to give creaminess
The beauty of most Weight Watchers recipes today (apart from the shitey ones with artificial sweetners) is that they cleverly reduce the amounts of the most calorific yet flavoursome ingredients, while adding bulk with low-cal or low-fat stuff like vegetables. The recipes taste a bit lighter than the Original versions, but not so "diet-y" that you feel you're being defrauded. It was nicely luxurious, with all those mushrooms making for a meaty and satisfying meal for this faux-vegetarian.
My tiny mods to this recipe: I used bog standard cheapo button mushies but added a pack of Tesco "Mixed Exotic" mushrooms for fun. I should have written down their names, but we're basically talking all the odd-shaped weird ones. They were mighty flavoursome. I probably twice the specified quantity too, that way I got to have more in my bowl! I forgot to buy parsley so chucked in some baby spinach, which was noice. I also stirred in the parmesan in the saucepan, as opposed to sprinkling on top, so you get that nice creamy cheesiness in every bite.
WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Source: How To Cook The Weight Watchers Way
20 g dried porcini mushrooms
150 ml boiling water
low fat cooking spray
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
350 g arborio rice
100 ml white wine
1.2 litres hot vegetable stock
200 g mushrooms, sliced
a small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
50 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated, to serve
Place the dried mushrooms in a measuring jug and add the boiling water. Soak for 25 minutes.
Heat a large, heavy saucepan, spray with the cooking spray, and gently stir fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the rice and and stir to mix well, then add the wine.
Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the stock, chop into small pieces. Strain the soaking water through a fine mesh sieve or piece of muslin and add to the risotto (I did not strain it: too lazy/hungry), with the reconstituted and fresh mushrooms. (I actually stir-fried fresh mushies a wee bit before I added the porcini and liquid)
Add the vegetable stock in small quantities, cooking and stirring frequently until all of it has been absorbed.
Check the seasoning and stir in the parsley (or spinach til wilted).
Serve with the parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.
Per serve: 418 calories, or 6 WW Points
Photo is copyright of and unceremoniously nicked from the Weight Watchers UK
website, as once again I forgot to photograph before eating! Oh dear.
Thanks to Pamela
who cooked this recipe and pointed out there was no mention of stock! Oh dear. The ingredients list has been amended 🙂