Orzo Risotto with Swiss Chard and Fontina

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


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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
5 ounces imported 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. 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. 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.

2. 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. 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.

Wine Recommendation: Savory Swiss chard and nutty Fontina will pair successfully with a crisp, lean Soave from Italy, such as the 1998 Bolla Tufaie Castellaro or the 1998 Anselmi San Vincenzo.

Created date

June 2004