A Taste of Yes, Italian!

By Shani Petroff

I tend to be a takeout queen. While cooking more is always a goal of mine, I often wind up ordering out. But I’m trying to establish some new, healthy habits, so to bring in 2018 – I decided to do it with a home cooked meal.

I had just received a copy of the Weight Watchers cookbook, Yes, Italian! and figured it was the perfect time to give one of the recipes a try. I had been craving risotto. In fact, months earlier, I had even googled how to make it (although I never followed through). So, when I saw the Lemon-Chicken Risotto in the cookbook, I knew it was the one for me.

It was a great choice! It tasted great, had large portions (7 SmartPoints® value per serving), and was filling. The cooking was even fun (I did it with someone else, and it went by really fast!). I made a few slight changes (that I’ll share at the end), but here is the recipe:

3 tsp olive oil
¾ lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 (9-oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, pieces halved if large
5 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 tbsp grated Parmesan (I skipped this one)

1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add to skillet and cook until browned and cooked through, 5-6 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and cool 5 minutes. Cut into ½-inch cubes.
2. Return same skillet to medium-high heat and add artichoke hearts; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Transfer artichokes to medium bowl and add chicken.
3. Bring broth to boil in small saucepan, reduce heat so broth just simmers.
4. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring until outer grain is translucent about 1 minute. Add 1 cup broth and stir until absorbed. Continue to add broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding more. Keep stirring and adding broth until rice is just tender and firm to the bite, and mixture is creamy; cooking time should be about 20 minutes from first addition of broth.
5. Add reserved chicken and artichokes and the lemon zest and juice with last addition of broth. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, Parmesan, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and serve at once.

Serves 4 – gluten free. 7 SmartPoints value.

I skipped the Parmesan and added a little extra oil, so the SmartPoints value stayed the same. I also used a little extra chicken. The package I bought was a little over a pound, and since chicken breasts are a zero Points® food on the WW Freestyle™ program, I decided why not use it all!

I was truly surprised by the size of the serving. It was a really nice sized portion. I made a salad to have with it, and the meal was very filling. I even took it to work for lunch the next day and ate the risotto cold—and it still tasted good!

The cookbook has a lot of recipes – and I think it would be especially great for fans of Italian food (obviously), antipasti, seafood, and pancetta/prosciutto/pork/bacon!

What are your thoughts on the recipe? Have you tried any from the cookbook? You can find me on Connect @shani!

Read more Shani Weighs In.