Friday, 10 August 2012

A very simple risotto

Risotto is one of my favourite quick dishes. I love making it and it is so easy. I know some people are scared of risotto, almost as if only proper chefs make it. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are two ‘secrets’ to successful risotto; being prepared to stand there stirring for 20 minutes and using the correct type of rice. That’s it!

I make risotto all the time, and tonight’s is a vegetarian option (I will add a photo tomorrow hopefully, but I’m writing tonight’s blog in advance as I know this recipe works!). You can add whatever you want, beans, peas, pea shoots, meat of whatever variety you like. I always like to top with pine nuts and a sprinkle of cheese though. Also you don’t need to be fancy and add white wine – in my opinion although it changes the flavour it is totally overrated. This is a mid-week quick meal, no need to be fancy-shmancy about it!

The stock needs to be warm when it is added to the pan. I always just keep it in one of my glass jugs that seems to keep the contents warm over the 20 minutes I cook (I start with it boiling). However many people insist that you need to keep it in a pan by itself on the stove, simmering away. I am yet to be convinced that this is necessary, but feel free to try it both ways and let me know what you think!

The recipe below is for four people, but it is easily doubled or halved. I will actually make half of this tonight for just the two of us, but using a small onion instead of a large one. I have indicated 200g rice (i.e. 50g per person), but people vary on this. Many would advocate 75g-100g per person but I find this too much. It might not look like much but it is a very rich dish.

Basic risotto recipe

Serves 4
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Cost: £5.21 (£1.30 per serving), use a cheaper cheese and remove the nuts to get a budget version for £2.92 (73p per serving)

200g Arborio rice
1 large Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
500ml warm stock, or two stock cubes in 500ml litres warm water
4 cups broad beans pealed, peas or veg of your choice
zest and juice from 2 lemons
Salad to serve
100g grated Cheese (optional)
25g pine nuts, toasted (optional)

Saute the onions in the oil on a medium heat, stirring regularly. Once they have begun to turn clear (about 5minutes) add the chopped garlic and cumin seeds. Fry for 1 minute then add the rice and fry for another minute.

Once the rice is covered in the oil add 1 small ladle of stock (about 100ml), stirring the rice and onion mix as you add. If the liquid immediately evaporates (it probably well), add another ladle and repeat until you have a small amount of liquid in the bottom. Stir continuously. Turn the heat down to a medium-low setting.

Keep stirring, adding liquid a ladle at a time as it dries out until the rice is cooked. If you run out of stock but still need some additional liquid just use hot water.

When the rice is very nearly cooked (just a little ‘nutty’) add the lemon juice and zest and any veg. You can add the veg earlier if you like it well cooked, but I like my vegetables warmed through and still very crunchy!

Once the rice is fully cooked and the veg warmed serve immediately, topped with a sprinkling of cheese and pine nuts and with some salad on the side.

N.B. The cost of the meal is calculated on the day that this blog entry was published, using Sainsbury's online groceries as a reference for pricing. Each item is costed by weight used not by the total cost of a bottle/packet of that product.

Thanks for stopping by,
Let me know what you think... leave a comment or send an email to passthecaffeine {at} gmail {dot} com

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