School of Fish: Brown Rice Risotto with Crab, Pistachios and Orange

by Joanne on November 24, 2014

After running on the weekend, maybe some would rest and allow their legs and feet to relax.  Not in our house. We don’t have kids, only our two dogs, but we seem to always be on the go.  One favorite hobby to occupy my time is baking and creating in the kitchen.  So I get back from a run, put on some comfy shoes (or go barefoot if I haven’t run too many miles) and start creating.  Baking sweet treats for Ted and myself is fun, but we can only eat so many and when the freezer is full, I’ll work on the savory side of things.  Here comes the dinner menu!   

My favorite book lately is Chef Ben Pollinger’s School of Fish.  This recipe doesn’t look fantastic in photos but it sure does wonderful things for the taste buds.

Brown Rice Risotto with Crab, Pistachios and Orange

Brown rice risotto? Hmm…well, not quite.  Brown rice doesn’t give in to a creamy, smooth finish like Arborio or Carnaroli rice.  It is healthy however and will certainly work well with this dish and my modifications of Chef Ben Pollinger’s recipe found on page 88 in his book School of Fish.


Serves 4


  • 1 large orange
  • 2 TBS olive oil, plus 2 tsp
  • 2 tsp Smart Balance butter substitute or unsalted butter
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 2 tsp mince garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice or use Arborio rice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 lb crab meat
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheeses
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Zest the orange and combine the zest with 2 TBS of olive oil. Set aside

Peel the orange and chop the slices, reserving all juice. Set aside.

Put vegetable stock on stove in a saucepan and simmer.

In a large pot, over medium heat, add 2 tsp oil plus 2 tsp butter/Smart Balance and allow to melt. Once melted, add the shallot and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.  Add the rice and toast for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Season with 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste.

Remove pan from heat and add the wine. Return to heat and allow the wine to absorb into the rice so very little liquid remains.  Add 1/2 a cup of simmering stock.  Allow to absorb almost completely before adding 1/2 a cup more.  Continue adding stock as it is absorbed by the rice, stirring on occasion.  This will take about 18 to 20 minutes.

Once rice is done, add the crab, pistachios, orange and juice.  Cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach.  Stir.  Add the cheese, orange zest oil and basil leaves. Stir. Serve immediately.



Not a difficult meal but a healthy meal with fresh flavors.

Pistachios:  Like ‘em or leave ‘em?

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