• 3 1/2 cups low-sodium free range chicken broth
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh red crushed pepper (Pimento Moida) or a pinch of dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound Tuscan kale
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Today the Food Network and a group of bloggers begin sharing our favorite recipes featuring the plentiful harvest of fall. Fall Fest 2012 has begun!

Every Wednesday during the fall, the Food Network and bloggers like me get together to share our favorite recipes like this one using kale. Full of vitamins, a great anti-inflammatory and a low-calorie food, kale is the perfect choice to kick off Fall Fest 2012!

My grandmother’s Portuguese Kale Soup is the first recipe that comes to mind when thinking of kale.  It brings back so many memories of time spent with my grandmother in her cozy kitchen. When making Portuguese Kale Soup, the aroma that fills our home let’s me know I’m doing something right.

Other favorite recipes of mine once prepared by my grandmother were her many delicious rice dishes. I thought I would combine two of my grandmother’s rice recipes to create the perfect risotto with kale.

Here’s how I did it:

Bring your chicken broth, water, salt, red crushed pepper, bay leaf, garlic and onion powders to a boil in a large saucepan.

TIP: Using a low-sodium chicken broth is the best way to control how much sodium is in your risotto (or any dish for that matter). You can always adjust the seasoning if you’d like to add more salt, but you can’t take it away!

Cut the stems and center ribs from the kale and discard. Stir your kale into your now very flavorful broth and gently simmer until tender. This will take  about 5 to 10 minutes. You should stir occasionally. Transfer your kale with tongs to a large bowl and gently press to extract the flavorful liquid. Add this liquid to your simmering broth and keep at a bare simmer, covered. Chop up your kale.

Cook the onion in oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy pot over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. This will take about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to moderate, then add your garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the arborio rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.

Add your dry white wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until the wine is absorbed.

TIP: Be sure to only cook with a wine you would drink. When alcohol is added to recipes and then reduced, the flavors intensify. If you wouldn’t drink the wine, it definitely will not taste good in a recipe.

Now stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth and simmer, stirring constantly, until the broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding more chicken broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is creamy-looking but still al dente (it should be the consistency of thick soup), 17 to 18 minutes. (There will be leftover broth.)

TIP: For a vegetarian version, simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Stir in your chopped kale, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and remaining tablespoon of butter and cook, stirring, until heated through and butter is melted, about 1 minute. Season your beautiful risotto with salt and pepper and, if desired, thin with some of your remaining broth.

The autumn weather has been so nice here in North Carolina and so my boys and I enjoyed this fall favorite on our back porch.


From our hearts to yours,

Elise and family

Just take a look at all of these amazing contributions from other food bloggers participating in the 2012 Fall Fest. Also, be sure to enter the Cooking With Elise Across America Contest! Monthly prizes are being given away in addition to virtual access to my new cookbook, You Never Cook Alone! Enter today!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Kale Kimchi
Bacon and Souffle: Roasted Carrot Salad With Baby Kale
From My Corner of Saratoga: Pork, Kale and White Bean Soup
Feed My Phoebe: Kale Salad With Bagna Cauda Vinaigrette
Cooking With Elise: Risotto With Tuscan Kale
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Kale and Rainbow Chard Salad With Peaches, Blackberries and Pine Nuts
Thursday Night Dinner: Linguine With Purple Kale and Italian Sausage
FN Dish: The Rise of the Kale Chip