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Posts Tagged ‘Risotto’

We chose this recipe because it has courgettes in it (and we have loads in the garden) but we’ll definitely be making it again. The method is a little different from usual but the results are lovely, fresh and tasty.

Wine Suggestion: Try to find a white wine with a lemony citrus flavour to bring out the bright flavours of the courgettes. We had a bottle of Karavitakis Assyrtiko “Nomas” from Crete that a friend had given us and it was a summery, lemony delight.

Tomato & Courgette Risotto – serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 200g carton passata
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 courgettes, halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes until softened.

Add the garlic and coriander seeds and cook for another minute, then stir in the rice and stir until coated and glistening.

Gradually add 300ml of the stock, stirring until absorbed each time before adding some more. Stir in the passata, then cover with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes. Keep giving it a stir every couple of minutes and add more stock as needed.

Meanwhile, put the tomatoes and courgettes into a roasting tin, keeping them at separate ends. Drizzle with the other tbsp of oil, then season and roast for 10-12 minutes until just tender. You might need to scoop out the tomatoes and cook the courgettes a little longer.

Add the mascarpone to the risotto and season generously with salt and black pepper. Keep stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes more or until the rice is cooked. Add the courgettes to the risotto and stir to mix together. Serve in warm bowls with the roasted tomatoes and some grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We’ve a bumper crop of courgettes growing in pots in our back garden this year; the joy of loads of bright flowers followed by loads of yellow and green fruit, plus the challenge to eat them all. We picked a load of small courgettes for this dish and added the flowers too as we have them, but it is just as delicious with more normal sized courgettes found in shops and without the flowers.

Wine Suggestion: we’ve been seeking out old vine blends from the languedoc recently and just love how the best have a balance between fresh minerality, roundness, and a herbal stonefruit character. Like tonight’s juicy joy: Domaine Modat’s “de-ci de-la” Blanc which takes fruit from scattered small plots. We loved the sage and thyme scent and the juicy pear flavours cut through with summer sunshine.

Courgette and Broad Bean Risotto – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 350g courgettes, cut into small dice
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 75ml dry white wine
  • 750g warm vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 80g broad beans, podded and blanched for a minute, then skins removed
  • courgettes flowers (optional), remove the stamens and tear the petals into pieces
  • 20g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Heat the oil and butter in a large, deep frying pan. Add the courgettes, chilli flakes and nutmeg, and season well with salt and black pepper. Cook the courgettes for about 5 minutes or until the courgettes are golden and soft. Add the scallions and lemon zest and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes to coat the grains in the oil.

Pour in the wine and cook for a couple of minutes, until almost evaporated.

Add the stock, a ladeful at a time, and stir until the liquid is absorbed before adding another. Keep going like this for 20-30 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed. Taste the rice it should be soft with a little bite in the centre.

Stir in the blanched broad beans and courgette flowers and warm through for a minute or two.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the Parmesan. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes with a lid on, then serve with extra Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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We couldn’t find cougettes to plant this year so we haven’t been cooking them nearly as often. Definitely one of the vegetables we miss the most in the colder months. You can of course buy a good-quality fresh pesto if you don’t feel like making it, though there is something very satisfying about pounding your own.

Wine Suggestion: We looked for a wine with a herbal streak and remembered the Ch Vignelaure La Source white from Provence. Made mostly of Vermentino with a dash of Semillon for body and Sauvignon Blanc for a crisp grassiness, this has both the body to work with the food and freshness to remind us of summer. Grapefruit and peach flavours, hints of white blossoms and a southern French, sassy finish.

Courgette & broad bean risotto with pesto – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 350g courgettes, cut into small dice
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 75ml dry white wine
  • 750g warm vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 80g broad beans, podded and blanched for a minute, then skins removed
  • 20g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

FOR THE PESTO:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • a large handful of basil leaves, plus extra to garnish
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan

If you are making the pesto, do that first. Crush the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt using a pestle and mortar. Add the toasted pine nuts and pound to a coarse paste, then tear in the basil and mint, pound again to break them down. Stir in the oil and cheese and season to taste.

To make the risotto, warm the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the courgettes, chilli flakes and nutmeg and season. Fry for about 5 minutes or until the courgettes have softened and turned golden. Add the scallions and lemon zest and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes until translucent and coated in fat.

Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, then add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring until absorbed. Keep adding stock for 20-30 minutes, stirring all the time, until the rice is tender.

Stir in the broad beans and warm through for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then swirl in about half of the pesto (keep the rest for something else).

Serve in warm bowls with basil leaves and extra cheese sprinkled on top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Daffodils, warmer weather (occasionally … ), longer days, and spring vegetables arriving in the shops. Things are definitely looking up, at least in our kitchen if nowhere else.

Wine Suggestion: The asparagus cried out for the Höpler Grüner Veltliner lurking in the fridge waiting for spring to arrive. GV is one of the few varieties to work with asparagus and this dish isn’t shy of their flavours so a good match. Crisp pear and zesty lemon flavours overlay the hints of characteristic white pepper umami savouriness; this is so clean and vibrant it shouts the beginning of the season.

Asparagus, wild garlic & Gorgonzola risotto – serves 3

  • a bunch of asparagus, snap off and discard the woody ends
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 40g butter and 25g of cold diced butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 250g superfino carnaroli rice
  • 60ml dry white wine
  • 40g Parmesan, grated
  • 60g Gorgonzola
  • a small handful of wild garlic leaves, finely chopped

Remove the tips from the asparagus and chop the stems into 3cm pieces.

Blanch the tips in a pan of salty boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Bring the stock the boil, then turn down and keep it at a bare simmer.

Melt 40g butter in a heavy-based pan, add the onion and asparagus stalks, then cook gently until the onion is soft and translucent, but not coloured.

Turn the heat up a little and add the rice. Stir for a couple of minutes until warm and coated with the butter and onion.

Add the wine and allow it to bubble up and almost disappear, then start adding the stock a ladle at a time. Keep stirring and only add more stock when the previous ladleful has been absorbed. Start tasting the rice after about 15 minutes, you want it to be soft but still with a little bite in the centre.

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the cold butter, Parmesan, 20g of the Gorgonzola and the wild garlic. Season to taste, then ladle into warm bowls and garnish with the asparagus tips and the rest of the Gorgonzola.

(Original recipe from Made at Home by Giorgio Locatelli, 4th Estate, 2017.)

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This is a little different given the use of the milky poaching liquor which makes this creamy and rich. Not that we partake in the cheese and fish rule anyhow, but cheese was genuinely not required. 

Wine Suggestion: Choose a white with a higher acidity to match the creamy stock and a bit of body as this is quite rich. We chose an alpine/cool-climate Chardonnay from Cantina Colterenzio from north-eastern Italy in the foothills of the Alps. Melon and apple fruit flavours with hints of buttery toast; refined and characterful.

Smoked Cod & Spinach Risotto – serves 2-3

  • 450ml full fat milk
  • 400g smoked cod or haddock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 450ml hot stock
  • a small onion
  • 50g butter
  • 250g risotto rice
  • a glass of white wine
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves, washed and torn into small pieces

Pour the milk into a saucepan large enough to take the fish in a single layer. Put the fish into the milk and add the bay leaves and peppercorns, then bring to the boil. When the milk starts to foam, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside with the fish left in the milk to infuse. 

Heat the stock in a saucepan until gently simmering.

Peel and finely chop the onion, then fry gently in the butter in a heavy-based pan. When the onion is soft, but not coloured, add the rice and stir to coat. 

Pour in the wine and allow to evaporate, then start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Keep stirring continually until each ladle of stock has been absorbed, then add some more. Keep the heat low to medium. When the stock is finished, start adding the poaching liquid from the fish (discard the peppercorns and bay leaves). Start tasting when almost all the milk has been absorbed. The rice should be soft but still have a little bite and it should take about 20 minutes. 

Stir the spinach into the rice. Break the fish into big pieces and gently fold into the rice, trying not to break them up too much. Check for seasoning before serving. 

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2012.)

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A handy idea to have up your sleeve when you’ve got leftover Risotto. This is not a recipe as such, but an easy method for cooking leftover risotto which tends to go a bit thick and claggy. 

Chill the leftover risotto in the fridge. 

Divide the leftover risotto into equal sized portions and form into cakes. 

Dip each risotto cake in some seasoned flour, brushing off any excess. Then dip into beaten eggs and finally into panko breadcrumbs. 

Fry the risotto cakes in a good bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and hot in the centre. 

 

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This is restaurant-style risotto which is packed full of lobster flavour. The shells are used to flavour the stock and it’s finished with a delicious reduction, the kitchen smells amazing! We associate risottos with Italy but this is proper French food, full of butter and brandy. Recipe from Rick Stein’s Secret France.

Wine Suggestion: This is a rich dish that needs a wine that is fresh and flavoursome as opposed to something equally rich. Our go to wine would be an oaked Chardonnay in this case, but it doesn’t work as well as you’d think. A toasty Champagne or good bottle fermented sparkling with good age on lees is a fine choice though, and tonight we had treat of the Champagne Valentin Leflaive cuvée CA/15/40. A new project by Olivier Leflaive from Burgundy made with 100% Chardonnay from Cramant and Avize, 45 months on lees and only 4g dosage. An exciting debut and a good match to boot.

Poached Lobster Risotto – serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

  • 1 cooked lobster
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • fresh tarragon sprigs, to serve

FOR THE LOBSTER STOCK AND REDUCTION

  • lobster shell, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 50g butter
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 500g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • a small handful of tarragon, roughtly chopped
  • 1.5 litres fish stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Cognac
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Remove the meat from the lobster and keep the shell for the stock. Slice the body into chunky slices and keep the meat from the claws as chunky as possible. 

For the stock, put the lobster shell in a large pot with the onion, garlic and 20g of the butter. Cook for about 5 minutes over a medium heat, then add the wine, tomatoes, tarragon and stock and bring to the boil. Add salt and simmer for 40 minutes. Pass the stock through a fine sieve over another pot and throw away the solid ingredients. Put 200ml of the stock aside for the reduction and keep the rest warm over a low heat. 

Heat the oil in a pan, add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft. Add the rice and stir until glistening with the shallots and oil, then add the wine and let it bubble until absorbed. Add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding another. Keep going like this until the rice is al dente, then season. 

Meanwhile, put the reserved 200ml of stock into a saucepan with the Cognac and bring to the boil. Cook until reduced by three-quarters, then whisk in the rest of the butter (30g) to make a sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Heat a tbsp of butter in a frying pan. When it’s foaming, add the lobster meat and warm it through. Serve the risotto topped with lobster and spoon the reduction around it. Finish with some tarragon sprigs. 

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Secret France, BBC Books, 2019.)

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Cherry Tomato Risotto

We planted tomato plants in the garden during lockdown, and now we have cherry tomatoes coming out of our ears. Last week we made roasted cherry tomato soup and this week it’s tomato risotto. It’s a good complaint!

Wine Suggestion: A risotto … made with tomatoes … it had to be Sangiovese. We chose a bright, fresh fruited Chianti made by Trudie Styler and Sting. The Tenuta il Palaggio, When We Can Dance Chianti just revels in pure, good quality fruit; joyful and unsullied by oak.

Cherry tomato risotto – serves 4

  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock (we use Swiss Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 rosemary sprig, finely chopped
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • grated Parmesan to serve

Put the tin of tomatoes in a food processor with 500ml of the veg stock and whizz until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and add the rest of stock, then bring to a gentle simmer.

Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a gentle heat, then add the chopped onion and cook gently until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic & rosemary, then cook for another minute. Add the rice and stir for a minute until the grains are glistening.

Start adding generous ladlefuls of the tomato and stock mixture and stir gently until absorbed before adding more. When you have added about half the stock, add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and lots of black pepper. Continue adding the stock until it is used up and the rice is al dente, it should take 20-25 minutes.

Cover the pot and leave for 1 minutes, then tear and stir in the basil leaves. Serve in warmed bowls with Parmesan grated over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Risotto Primavera

This risotto isn’t laden with cheese and butter like so many other recipes and so a good option for a weeknight and full of Spring flavours. We left out the chives and rocket as we didn’t have them but we’ve kept them in the recipe as they would make nice additions.

Wine Suggestion: this was delightful with a young white Muscadet from Domaine de la Chauviniere, but we can see it working with youthful Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner as well.

Risotto Primavera – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 350g asparagus, snap of the woody ends and cut into 5cm lengths on the diagonal
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 175g frozen peas
  • 250g frozen broad beans
  • 2 tbsp shredded basil
  • 2 tbsp snipped chives
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1.7 litres vegetable stock (we used Marigold vegetable bouillon)
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300g carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 25g Parmesan, grated
  • 25g rocket leaves, to garnish

Heat half the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Stir-fry the asparagus over a medium-high heat for about 4 minutes or until browned all over. Add the scallions and fry for another minute or two until browned. Remove these with a slotted spoon, season with pepper, and set aside.

Cook the peas and broad beans in separate pans of boiling water for a few minutes, then drain. Pop the broad beans out of their skins and set both aside.

Mix the basil, chives, mint and lemon zest together in a small bowl and season with pepper.

Pour the stock into a saucepan and keep over a very low heat.

Pour the rest of the oil into the pan that you used to cook the asparagus. Add the shallots and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes or until soft and slightly browned. Stir in the rice and cook for a minute or two over a medium-high heat or until it starts to sizzle.

Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed. Now start gradually adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding more. Keep adding stock for about 20 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Season with pepper.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add an extra ladle of stock, then scatter over the vegetables, some pepper, half the herb & lemon mixture and half the cheese. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for a few minutes. Gently stir to combine, then serve in warmed bowls some rocket and the rest of the herbs and cheese sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Minty Pea & Prawn Risotto

We were looking for freezer inspiration when we made this. We have not stockpiled at all, but we keep putting all our leftovers in the freezer in case we have to stay home for a fortnight and can’t get to the shops. The problem now is that we’ve lots of delicious dinners in the freezer but the most enjoyable bit of our day is cooking dinner together. Reheating doesn’t quite have the same effect. So, if you’ve got some frozen prawns and frozen peas, you can have a go at this and enjoy stirring it – it’s certainly effective therapy for us. Let’s cook through this.

Wine Suggestion:  go a dry rosé or white, which will also be used in the dish, so nothing too over the top. Tonight the Chateau Vignelaure “La Source” Rosé which to our tastes is the equal of the couple of “BIG” names from Provence without the ego prices. Refreshing on it’s own and a great food wine. Dry Rosé Wine is very underated in our minds.

Minty pea and prawn risotto – serves 4

  • 400g frozen peas
  • 750ml fish stock or veg stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 120ml white wine
  • 300g cooked frozen prawns, defrosted
  • 30g grated Parmesan, plus a bit extra to serve
  • a handful of chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp butter

Start by cooking the peas in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water. Add 200ml of the stock to the peas and whizz with a stick blender (or whatever your whizzing option is) until smoothish. Put the rest of the stock in a pot and keep simmering over a low heat.

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, then cook the onion for about 5 minutes over a lowish heat, until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the rice and stir until the grains are glistening. Add the wine and stir until evaporated. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until each one is absorbed before adding another. You will need to keep at this for about 20 minutes. Season well.

Add the whizzed up peas and cook for another couple of minutes, or until most of the liquid had gone. The rice should be al dente by now. Add the prawns and an extra ladle of stock and heat for a couple of minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, mint and butter. Check the seasoning and serve with some extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013)

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Cheddar Cheese Risotto

We found Nigella Express on our bookshelves and thought it might be useful these days when we’re looking for simplicity and store cupboard ingredients. This is Nigella’s Cheddar cheese risotto that we made with some limp looking scallions and the dregs from a packet of chives. Also popular with the 6 year old.

Wine Suggestion: A full-bodied white with texture, depth and importantly a freshness to make it feel lighter than the body and rich food demand. Our choice the Rustenberg Chardonnay, a stand-by exemplar of an oaked Chardonnay.

Cheddar cheese risotto – serves 2 adults and 1 child

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a few scallions, chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 125g cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives

Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan, then add the scallions and cook until softened.

Pour in the rice and stir for a minute so the rice is all coated in the butter and oil.

Turn up the heat, then add the Dijon mustard and white wine. Keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed.

Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding another. Keep going like this until the rice is al dente – about 18 minutes.

Stir in the cubes of cheese and keep stirring until the cheese has melted. Taste for seasoning, then ladle into warm bowls. Top with some chives if you have them.

(Original recipe from Nigella Express, Chatto & Windus, 2007.)

 

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Scallop & prawn risotto

We brought in the new decade with this fabulous scallop and prawn risotto. Couldn’t be simpler to make but tastes really special. Scallops aren’t cheap but you only need a few for this and they are totally worth it.

Wine Suggestion: A special occasion with a special person requires a special wine. Made by the brilliant Dermot Sugrue, his Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan is multilayered, multidimensional and complex. To be honest this is the best English Sparkling we’ve tasted and it has a great roundness and weight alongside it’s natural freshness which allowed us to start with seaside, fresh oysters and then segue to a much richer risotto without breaking a sweat.

Scallop & Prawn Risotto – serves 4

  • 100g butter, plus a bit extra
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 450g risotto rice
  • 750ml-1 litre, hot fish or light chicken stock
  • 350-400g raw peeled prawns
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone
  • 12 scallops, orange roe and side muscles removed
  • a bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of basil, chopped

Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan and gently cook the shallot until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated in butter.

Gradually add the hot stock, stirring all the time, until the rice is just tender – about 20 minutes. Add the prawns when the rice is cooked but al dente, then season and add the lemon zest and juice. Turn the prawns until they have turned pink all over, then add the mascarpone and gently fold in.

Allow the risotto to rest for 5 minutes while you fry the scallops for a minute on each side in a knob of butter in a frying pan. Add these to the risotto and sprinkle with the herbs.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, December 2015.)

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Cockle & Chorizo Risotto

We couldn’t find clams in Dublin the day we cooked this and had to substitute cockles. Still very delicious, but make sure you wash them thoroughly in cold running water to get rid of any sand.

Wine Suggestion: The zing of a good Picpoul de Pinet was our choice and it was a very good match indeed; clean, fresh and appley. Picpoul is often drunk with lighter dishes as it’s such an easy drinking wine, but this is a shame as Picpoul comes into it’s own with a richer dish like this.

Clam & Chorizo Risotto – serves 4

  • 1kg fresh clams, rinsed well in running water for a few minutes to remove any sand (or you can use cockles)
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 spicy cooking chorizos, finely diced (we used one big one)
  • a bay leaf
  • 300g carnaroli rice
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat a large casserole dish on a high heat and add the clams. Throw in half the wine, cover with a lid, and cook for 2 minutes or until the clams open. Drain and set aside, reserving the liquor. Remove the clams from their shells when cool enough to handle.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sweat for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the chorizo and bay leaf and cook for a few minutes. Add the rice and toast for a couple of minutes, then add the rest of the wine and turn up the heat to evaporate.

Add the reserved cooking liquor, then start adding the chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring. Add another ladle only when the previous ladle of stock has been absorbed. Continue until the rice is almost cooked, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the Parmesan, butter and herbs. Add the clams and stir to heat through. Taste and season with salt if needed, then serve.

(Original recipe from The Skills by Monica Galetti, Quadrille, 2016.)

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Risotto bianco with pesto

It’s anything with pesto in our house at the minute. This dish is definitely suitable for adults too.

Wine Suggestion: We would suggest a good Fiano from Campani in the south of Italy with  freshness and fruit that isn’t too ripe and tropical. By avoiding over-ripeness you get more stone fruit with a fresh vibrancy. Alongside the rich risotto and herby pesto it’s a great match.

Risotto Bianco with Pesto – serves 6

  • 1.1 litres hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ a head of celery, finely chopped
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth or dry white wine
  • 70g butter
  • 115g freshly grated Parmesan
  • fresh pesto
  • small handful of pine nuts – toasted
  • small basil leaves (to serve)

Put the olive oil and knob of butter into a pan, then add the onion, garlic and celery, and cook gently for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened turn the heat up and add the rice.

Keep stirring for about a minute or until the rice looks translucent. Add the vermouth and continue to stir.

When the vermouth has disappeared, add a ladle of the hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladles of the stock, stirring all the time, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding another. This should take about 15 minutes. After this taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, keep adding stock until the rice is soft with a little bite. If you run out of stock you can add a some boiling water. Season.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well, then cover the pan and leave to sit for 2 minutes. Eat immediately garnished with a spoonful of fresh pesto, some toasted pine nuts, a few basil leaves and some extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

 

 

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Courgette & lemon risotto

A weekend lunch treat for the three of us as we had courgettes lying around begging to be used.

Wine Suggestion: a crunchy white was demanded here and an old favourite was opened to match; the Chateau du Hureau Saumur Blanc “Argile”. A vibrant Chenin Blanc with texture, vibrant, crunchy, apply fruit plus a real sense of place.

Courgette & lemon risotto – serves 2

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 180g risotto rice
  • 1 litre of hot vegetable stock
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 2 lemon thyme sprigs
  • 250g courgette, diced
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche

Melt the butter in a deep frying pan and gently fry the onion until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute. Pour in the rice and stir for a couple of minutes until it glistens.

Add a ladle of the stock to the rice, along with the lemon juice and thyme. Bubble over a medium heat, stirring constantly. When almost all the liquid has been absorbed, add another ladle and continue to stir. Tip in the courgette and keep adding the stock, stirring every now and then until the rice is just tender and creamy.

Season to taste and stir in the lemon zest, Parmesan and crème fraîche.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Risotto Primavera

Do it now when there is lots of asparagus in the shops! If you have peas and broad beans growing you should of course use these rather than our frozen substitutes.

Wine Suggestion: we had opened a delightful Touraine Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine Octavie which not only matched the food, it also matched the sunshine with us this evening.

Risotto Primavera – serves 4

  • 200g frozen broad beans
  • 4 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250g asparagus, woody ends snapped off and chopped into 4 pieces
  • 1.3 litres of good chicken or vegetable stock – homemade if you have it
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 85g butter
  • 350g Carnaroli or other risotto rice
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 140g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

Tip the broad beans into boiling water and simmer for 1 minute, then drain and remove the skins.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan.

Heat the oil and half the butter in a heavy, wide pan. Add the shallots, scallions & garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft and translucent but not browned.

Keep the heat at medium and add the rice to the pan and stir for a few minutes so it gets toasted and very hot. When it starts to hiss, pour in the wine and stir for another minute or so until the wine has evaporated.

Set a timer for 20 minutes, then start adding the stock starting with a ladle and a half. It should be gently simmering and you need to stir continuously until the liquid had been absorbed. Keep adding the stock a ladleful at a time and allowing it to be absorbed before adding another.

After 14 minutes, add the beans and peas to the rice with some seasoning. Meanwhile, add the asparagus pieces to the simmering stock and cook for 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and add to the rice. Start tasting the rice to check if it is done – you’re looking for soft rice with a little bite. Keep adding stock until cooked, then take the pan off the heat and add half the Parmesan and the remaining butter along with another splash of stock. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for a few minutes.

Serve with the rest of the Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Cauliflower risotto

Using one of our favourite vegetables, that strangely we haven’t cooked for a while. Perfect comfort food for chilly evenings.

Wine Suggestion:  not as easy to suggest a wine as we thought given the conflicting flavours but we found that the Quinta Soalheiro Alvarinho Reserva a surprisingly good match. This combined a vibrant freshness with a layer of subtle oak, mineral nuttiness from the fine lees and a textured persistence that both balanced the food and didn’t overwhelm it. This wine continues to surprise with it’s quality and brilliance.

Cauliflower, leek & blue cheese risotto – serves 4

  • ½ a head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 25g butter
  • 2 leeks, cut into rings and washed thoroughly
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 1 litre hot chicken stock
  • 25g Parmesan cheese
  • 100g creamy blue cheese, e.g. Cashel blue or dolcelatte, broken into small chunks

Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water until just tender, then drain well and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the leeks over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the risotto rice and stir around until glistening with the butter. Now add the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously until each has been absorbed before adding another. It should take about 25 minutes to add all of the liquid and by this time the rice should be cooked. A few minutes before the end, carefully stir in the cooked cauliflower and stir gently so you don’t break it up to much, then add the Parmesan and blue cheese.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011.)

 

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Mussel & fennel risottoWe really liked this tasty risotto made with delicious stock from the mussels. Jules bought half the quantity of mussels (in error!) but it was no worse for it. The sort of thing we like to eat on a Friday night with a glass of something bubbly.

Wine Suggestion: As we have a few bottles of Sparkling Saumur lying around after our summer holiday to the Loire this year, we automatically gravitated to this and found it a good match. This time we opened the Bouvet-Ladubay Trésor blanc, a blend of mostly Chenin Blanc with some Chardonnay. Fresh and vibrant but with the quality of fruit to stand up to the food. Cost aside, we don’t know why more sparkling wines aren’t matched with food.

Mussel & fennel risotto – serves 4

  • 1.75kg mussels, cleaned thoroughly (discard any that don’t close when you hit them off the side of the sink)
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • a few parsley stalks
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb, trimmed & diced
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 50ml dry vermouth
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Put the mussels into a large saucepan over a medium heat with the white wine, parsley stalks and peppercorns. Cover and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until opened. Shake the pan a couple of times as they cook.

Strain over a bowl to catch the cooking liquor and remove the mussels from their shells. Throw away any that haven’t opened.

Strain the liquor through a sieve lined with muslin to catch any grit, then heat until simmering gently.

Heat 5 tbsp olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onion, garlic and fennel over a medium heat until the onion is soft but not coloured. Stir in the risotto rice. Pour on the vermouth, then add the mussel liquor a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. The rice should be cooked after about 20 minutes. Add some water if you run out of mussel liquor.

Stir in the mussels, parsley, lemon juice and seasoning to taste.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Courgette RisottoWe loved this simple risotto with toasted pine nuts and little pieces of fried courgette. Definitely special enough to serve to friends for dinner.

Wine Suggestion: this risotto demands a waxy, nutty white and what better than an excellent Soave made by Graziano Pra. His Soave Classico “Otto” is fresh and a delight with jasmine and hawthorn aromas, but if you can step up to the “Monte Grande” cuvée then you get extra depth and greater layers of almonds and nuts that complement the pine nuts perfectly.

Courgette Risotto – serves 3-4

  • 50g butter, plus a bit extra to finish
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 250g courgettes, 140g coarsely grated, dice the rest
  • 175g risotto rice
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1.2 litres of veg stock (or chicken stock) kept hot over a low heat
  • 25g parmesan, grated
  • 2 heaped tbsp mascarpone
  • 1 heaped tbsp toasted pine nuts

Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan then gently fry the onions until softened. Stir in the grated courgettes and the rice, then increase the heat and stir for 1-2 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and a ladleful of the hot stock. Stir continuously over a medium-high heat. Keep stirring until the liquid is almost absorbed, then add another ladleful of stock. Continue like this for until the rice is just tender and has a creamy texture, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, mascarpone and some salt and black pepper, then cover with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes while you fry rest of the courgettes.

Heat the rest of the butter with a splash of oil in a small frying pan. Add the diced courgettes and fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes until golden & softened. Divide the risotto between plates, then scatter with the diced courgettes and any buttery juice from the pan, the pine nuts & a few pinches of lemon zest.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Lemony pea risotto

A standby, reliable dish; something we make for weekend lunches that is simple, tasty and comforting. We’re always surprised at how good it is!

Wine Suggestion: a fresh, zesty white is our usual choice. Vermentino from  Tuscany like the Poggio ai Ginepri IGP Bianco works a treat, or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Chablis would be great too.

Pea & Parmesan risotto – serves 4

  • 1.2 litres chicken stock/veg stock
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 225g arborio rice
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Put the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then keep over a low heat.

Melt the butter in a sauté pan, and the onion and garlic, then cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir over a low heat until translucent and starting to soften. Increase the heat to medium and begin adding the hot stock, a ladle at a time. Keep adding ladles of stock when the one before has been completely absorbed by the rice.

Continue like this for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

Tip the frozen peas into the risotto and stir. Keep stirring for about 3 minutes or until the peas have defrosted and the rice is bubbling. Finally, stir in the Parmesan and serve immediately with a few shards of Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe by Tana Ramsey in BBC Good Food Magazine, July, 2007.)

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