I’ve got a dish that will warm you from the inside out – Chicken Piccata Risotto with Crispy Capers!
I’m not usually one to shy away from cooking with full-fat olive oil and butter but if there’s an easy way to healthify an indulgent classic, I’ll always take on the challenge. So, when I saw an opportunity to slash some calories and fat from one of Ben’s and my favorite dishes — Chicken Piccata — I jumped at the chance, and this light yet luscious Chicken Piccata Risotto was born!
BlogHer and RiceSelect recently challenged me to “rethink rice,” taking it from a ho-hum side dish to something spectacular. No problemo! I turned RiceSelect Arborio Rice into a lemon and caper infused risotto that’s creamy without being heavy, and packed with flavor. Plus it calls for a fraction of the butter and oil that Chicken Piccata is normally made with.
Not only is this Chicken Piccata Risotto completely mouthwatering, but it will impress. It reminds me of the Chicken Piccata Ben made for me on our first date when I thought he was going to burn his parent’s house down, but miraculously pulled through at the last minute.
Now that was impressive.
How to Make This Recipe
Start by making the risotto.
Saute chopped shallot in extra virgin olive oil and butter, seasoning with salt and pepper, in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and dried thyme then sauté for 1 more minute.
Next add arborio rice then stir to coat each kernel in butter and olive oil, and continue to cook for 1 more minute.
Next add 5 cups simmering chicken broth. Normally with risotto you add one ladleful of hot broth to the rice at a time, stirring until it’s nearly absorbed before adding another, but guess what? You don’t have to! Just pour it all in there then stir continuously until the broth is nearly absorbed and the rice is tender, 25-30 minutes.
When nearly all the broth has been absorbed by the rice add chopped baby spinach then continue stirring until the rice is cooked through and the spinach is tender.
Last step is to remove the pan from the heat then stir in fresh lemon juice, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and a wee bit more butter. Season with salt and pepper if needed then set the risotto aside while you get to work on the crispy caper portion of the program.
I first learned crispy capers were a thing after watching Giada de Laurentiis top a pasta dish with them on one of her shows. They’re just jarred capers that have been pat dry then fried in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. They become audibly crispy and the flavor mellows out some too. They are unbelievable!
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat then add jarred capers that have been patted dry very well. Fry the capers for 2-3 minutes in the oil or until they’re golden brown and have opened up like a flower. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
To the caper-infused oil in the skillet, add chicken breasts that have been pounded to an even thickness and seasoned with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through then finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
FYI: I have made this with shrimp and it is diviiiine.
Finally, scoop the risotto into bowls then add the sautéed chicken and finish with a sprinkle of crispy capers. I can’t pick out what I love best about this creamy risotto. The crispy capers on top are a fabulous addition as pan frying them mellows out the flavor a bit, plus they give this dish an even more delicious twist. The light lemon flavor in the lusciously creamy risotto is a tongue tingler, too. Such a treat – I hope you enjoy!
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Chicken Piccata Risotto
Chicken Piccata Risotto tastes like luscious Chicken Piccata in risotto form. This lighter take on chicken piccata is luscious and mouthwatering!
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 Tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry very well
- 4 small chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then turn heat to low and keep at a simmer. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon each butter and extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, season with salt and pepper, then sauté until tender, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and dried thyme then sauté for 1 minute. Add rice then stir to coat and cook for 1 minute.
- Add hot chicken broth all at once then stir slowly yet constantly until rice is tender and nearly all the broth is absorbed, 25-30 minutes, keeping broth at a simmer over medium heat. When nearly all the broth has been absorbed but rice is still creamy, add spinach then keep stirring until rice is cooked through. Remove pan from heat then stir in the juice from 1/2 lemon, parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 Tablespoon butter. Taste then add salt and pepper if necessary and then set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add capers then sauté until slightly opened, golden brown, and crispy, 2-3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper then saute in caper-infused oil for 3-4 minutes on each side. When chicken has 1 minute left to saute, squeeze second lemon half over chicken. Plate risotto then top with chicken and sprinkle crispy capers on top.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.