Saturday, 9 June 2007

I'm Loving... Risotto

I admit it. I've been on somewhat of a risotto binge recently...
Until recently, I'd never really cooked the stuff but when shopping last month, I picked up a box of Arborio rice and figured I'd give it a go. And then another go. And then another because the first ideas were just so nice.

The wonderful thing about risottos is that you can put near enough anything you like into them and they're really very simple to make. Depending on your ingredients, they can be light or rich and work as either side dishes or as main courses in their own right. While my main picture is of a chicken variation, I've also had huge success with other ones as well. Below is my recipe for a basic Risotto 'Blanco' - do try making variations such as Mushroom risotto, Pea and Smoked Mackerel risotto or my Personal Trainer, Emma's favourite, Asparagus, Pea and Mint risotto - absolutely perfect for this time of year!

Risotto Blanco

1 cup Arborio Rice
1 Onion (chopped finely)
1 clove Garlic (minced)
2 cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Stock
1 heaped tbsp Parmesan
1 tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper

1) In a saucepan, melt the butter and slowly saute the garlic and onion together until soft (but not brown). [If using meat or mushrooms, I add them now]. Add the rice and continue to fry gently for a couple of minutes.

2) Add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the pan and stir every few minutes until the rice absorbs the liquid and it 'just' tender - it should still have a little 'bite' to it. (You may need to add more stock during cooking). [If using vegetables, I tend to add them towards the end of cooking so they aren't overdone].

3) Stir through the parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. The finished consistency should be tender grains that are almost creamy.