It’s wedding season! While most dread wedding season, I love it. I LOVE weddings. I love being in them, I love dressing up for them, I love all the hoopla that comes before and watching my friends start what I hope to be a happily ever after. You all know I’m a hopeless romantic.
Anyone in their 20s and 30s know it’s a thing. I had my first experience six years ago when Apple Crisp got married and for a while it was 2, 3…4 weddings a year. Lately…a stall. Last year I didn’t have any summer weddings. It was weird. And sad.
This year I’m looking at three weddings, and the first of the pre-wedding activities started last weekend when Frites’ family hosted her bachelorette party and shower. Unlike the bar hopping that tended to happen, oh…8 or so years ago, these 30+ year old bachelorette parties are much more fun. After a lovely wine tasting, we moved on to a multi-course gut busting, family-style dinner at a fantastic South American restaurant, La Sirena Clandestina. I know- right up my current alley and if you’re ever in the Chi, hop on over.
Seriously all the food was good, but the one dish that everyone ate up like it was going out of style was a dish called La Bomba Rice. And yes, it was the bomb.
According to the web, bomba rice is itself a thing. Bomba rice is a special paella rice in Spain and it seems to absorb almost 30% more liquid than regular rice, which means it can hold in 30% more flavor.
I didn’t have that, but I did have some Arborio that has been staring me down every time I open my pantry, and this was just the occasion to use it. I used beef stock at the base for some extra heartiness, though any good stock will do, and this dish comes together with simply some shallots, blanched broccoli rabe, aged cheddar and toasted pepitas. That’s it. Simplicity and perfection.
I’m not sure how authentic this actually is…seems more Spanish than South American but based on other recipes native to this area, it almost seems like potato/potahto. In any case, it was seriously too delicious to not try and make at home. My version came out pretty darn close, so I hope you give it a try, either as a side dish, or just a bowl of happiness.
- ½ cup Arborio rice
- 1 shallot
- ½ TB butter
- 1 ½ cup beef stock
- 1 head broccoli rabe
- 2 ounces sharp, aged cheese (I used Reduced Fat Dubliner), shredded
- ¼ cup roasted pepitas
- 1 tsp Cholula hot sauce
- ¼ tsp red chili flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Roasted pumpkin seed oil, to garnish
- In a deep pot, heat the stock over medium low heat.
- In a large, somewhat deep skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and to pan and cook to soften 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the rice.
- Cook the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine and add in the hot stock, about 1 cup at a time, and stir for a minute with each addition, to develop the starch and the creamy aspect. Total cooking time will be about 18 minutes or so. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges.
- Meanwhile as the rice does its thing, in a large pot, bring some water to a boil. Quickly drop the rabe in for few minutes to get tender, and then immediately place in another bowl full of cold water. Shake dry and remove the steps, keeping the leafy greens. You should get about 1 cup.
- Place this into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken up into a semi-smooth mixture.
- When rice is cooked to al dente, where it just as a bit of a bite, stir in the broccoli rabe, the cheese, pepitas, Cholula and red chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and drizzle with pumpkin seed oil to garnish.
- Feel free to use whatever cheese you like. Vegetable stock may also be used.
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