Coconut Black Bean Risotto

Although this sounds like an odd combination of Italian technique and Caribbean ingredients, it tastes absolutely wonderful. You can also serve this as a vegetarian entrée.

Serves 6.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
½ Spanish onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
6-7 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
¼ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
⅓ to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

1. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and when it is hot add the coconut. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the coconut is golden about 10 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.

2. Place a large straight-sided pan over medium heat and when it is hot, add the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it is coated with the onion mixture. Add the wine and cook until it has been completely absorbed.

3. Add the chicken broth, one cup at a time, and cook until all the broth has been absorbed by the rice, about 18 minutes.

4. Off heat, add the cheeses, cilantro, peppers, and beans. Transfer to a large heated serving bowl and serve immediately. Garnish with the toasted coconut.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)