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Posts Tagged ‘Risotto’

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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Porcini & spinach risottoWe love a good risotto and this simple one doesn’t disappoint. Perfect cold weather comfort food.

Wine Suggestion: as this is a richer flavoured mushroom dish our first choice would be to head to a Nebbiolo, especially a good Barolo. With the addition of the spinach which has a fresh, iron bitterness we would swing back to a full-bodied white and go for a good Alsace Pinot Gris. The depth of flavour of this dish can balance a really intense Pinot Gris like one from Zind- Humbrecht, which sometimes can be edgy and a bit much for many foods. This one can handle it so push the boat out for flavour and enjoy.

As we had this as a weeknight treat, however, we found that a more humbleVilla Wolf Pinot Gris from the Pfalz also worked.

Porcini & spinach risotto – serves 2

  • 25g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 50g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 150g risotto rice
  • a glass of white wine
  • 750ml veg stock, simmering (we use Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder)
  • 100g spinach, washed & chopped
  • parmesan shavings

Soak the porcini mushrooms in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve to remove any gritty bits and keep for later. Roughly chop the porcini.

Heat the butter in a wide shallow pan and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the chestnut mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, then add the porcini and risotto rice and stir until coated.

Pour in the wine and bubble until it has been absorbed by the rice. Gradually add the stock and porcini soaking liquid, stirring until the rice is al dente (you may not need all of the stock). Stir through the spinach until just wilted and serve sprinkled with shavings of parmesan.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, February 2009.)

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Summer risotto

On a balmy summer evening we podded local broad beans and picked some french beans from the vines in our back yard. We used a stock made from a previously roasted chicken which was subsequently used to poach chicken fillets for a Coronation Chicken. The only thing out of place were the frozen peas, but we think unless you pick the pods fresh and eat them almost immediately, frozen is often best. This is based on a risotto primavera or Spring risotto which usually contains asparagus.

Wine Suggestion: a fresh, summery Godello caught our eye. The La Sonrisa de Tares from Bierzo had enough weight to balance the starchy creaminess and depth of the Parmesan while a lovely textural freshness and summery zing made the beans and peas sing with all their fresh flavours.

Summer Risotto – serves 4

  • 200g shelled broad beans (you will need about 800g of broad beans in their pods to get this quantity or you can use frozen broad beans, defrosted)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250g green beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths
  • 1.5 litres home-made chicken stock (you might not need it all)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 80g butter
  • 350g Carnaroli or other risotto rice
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

Start by double podding the broad beans so you are left with bright green beans. To do this just blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and squeeze to remove the papery skin. If you’re using frozen beans you might be able to remove the skins when defrosted without having to blanch first.

Put the stock into a large pot and bring to a simmer.

Heat the oil and 40g butter in a wide heavy pan with a lid. Cook the shallot, scallions & garlic for a few minutes until soft and transparent but don’t let them brown. Add the rice and keep stirring for a few minutes until the rice is hot and starting to sizzle, then pour in the wine. Continue to stir until the wine has evaporated.

Now start gradually adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Only add another ladleful when the previous one has been absorbed by the rice. Continue stirring and adding the stock for 14 minutes, then add the broad beans and peas with some salt and black pepper. Meanwhile, cook the green beans in the simmering stock for 6 minutes or until soft, then add these to the rice too. Continue stirring and adding stock until the risotto has a creamy texture and the rice is soft but retains a little bite.

Remove the pan from the heat and add half the parmesan, the rest of the butter and one last splash of stock to retain the moisture. Put the lid on the pan and leave to rest for a few minutes off the heat. Serve with the rest of the Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

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Crab & Chilli Risotto

We’d been eyeing this recipe up for a while and when we stumbled across some really good crab meat we had our excuse to make it. It was luxurious and delicious as we expected.

Wine suggestion: Go for a rich white like an oaked Chardonnay, which will also have a good freshness and texture to balance the rich risotto. Our choice was the Rustenberg Chardonnay from Stellenbosch in South Africa which never lets us down.

Crab & chilli risotto  – serves 2

  • 1 litre light chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • 2 garlic cloves, bashed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 75ml dry white wine or vermouth
  • 100g brown crabmeat
  • 100g white crabmeat
  • zest and juice of ½ a lemon, plus wedges to serve
  • 50g rocket

Heat up the stock, add the saffron threads and keep hot over a low heat.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan (which you have a lid for) and add the bashed garlic cloves. Leave to sizzle for a couple of minutes, then remove and discard the garlic. Add the scallions and most of the red chilli and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring, for about a minute.

Turn up the heat and stir in the rice so that the grains become coated in the oil.

Add the white wine/vermouth and let it bubble up until it has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of stock and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed.

Turn the heat down and continue to stir and add ladlefuls of stock, allowing each one to be absorbed before adding another. After about 18 minutes the stock should have all been absorbed and the rice should be al dente.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the crab and the lemon zest and juice, then season. Add the rocket, cover with the lid, and let stand for a minute.

Serve the risotto with the remaining chilli over the top and a squeeze of lemon.

(Original recipe from Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)

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Mushroom risotto

 

A classic recipe from one of our reliable sources of inspiration; Leith’s.

Not terribly seasonal so you might like to keep this for the Autumn when the mushroom selection is better.

Mushroom Risotto – serves 4

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated (plus more to serve)
  • 300g risotto rice (Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 15-20g dried wild mushrooms
  • 400g mixed wild mushrooms
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 1.5-2 litres chicken or vegetable stock

Add the dried wild mushrooms to the stock, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain the stock and return to the pan. Bring  back to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to as low as possible.

Meanwhile, sauté the soaked mushrooms with the mixed wild mushrooms in 50g of the butter over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until browned and any excess water has gone. Set aside and keep warm.

Melt another 50g of the butter in a large, shallow saucepan, add the onion and sweat over a low heat until completely soft but not coloured (about 10 minutes).

Add the rice to the pan and fry gently, stirring until coated in the butter. Add the wine and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring, until the wine has been absorbed.

Start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring all the time, and making sure each ladleful is absorbed before adding the next. Keep going until the rice is just cooked, about 25 minutes. If you run out of stock use a little boiling water. Make sure the risotto is quite fluid at this stage as it will thicken on standing and you are aiming for a loose, almost sloppy texture.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the last 50g of butter, the grated Parmesan and the sautéed mushrooms. Season to taste and allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Leith’s How to Cook, Quadrille, 2013.)

 

 

 

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Mushroom Arancini

These little arancini or  risotto balls are the perfect solution for leftover risotto which tends to turn a bit claggy. We made ours from leftover mushroom risotto but you can use any flavour. The joy of arancini is the crisp exterior and melting centre; easy and moreish.

Easy Arancini – serves 3-4

  • 350g leftover risotto
  • 25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil

Put the risotto into a bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Spread the breadcrumbs out on a flat plate.

Use your hands to roll the risotto into ping-pong-sized balls, then roll in the breadcrumbs to coat, and put on a baking tray.Chill the risotto balls in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Put a large frying pan on a high heat and add 2 tbsp of the oil. Wait for the oil to get hot before adding a few arancini. Fry for about 4 minutes, turning now and then, until golden brown all over.

Drain the cooked arancini on a serving plate lined with kitchen paper, then repeat to cook the rest, adding more oil as needed.

(Original recipe from Rachel Allen’s Everyday Kitchen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

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