Posts Tagged ‘Risotto’

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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Ceps are not cheap but they are worth every penny in our opinion. If you can’t get ceps, or you are not feeling extravagant, you can use other fresh wild mushrooms. This is a very rich and luxurious dish.

Cep Risotto – to serve 4

  • about 8 pieces of dried porcini (ceps), roughly chopped
  • 250g fresh porcini, wiped clean (don’t wash them)
  • 75g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 2.5 litres good chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, chopped super fine
  • 400g vialone nano rice
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 75g cold butter, cut into small dice
  • 100g finely grated Parmesan

Soak the dried porcini in a bowl of water for a couple of hours or until soft. Lift the porcini out of the water and squeeze to get rid of extra moisture.

Slice the fresh porcini lengthways.

Heat 20g of the butter in a sauté pan over a low heat, add the garlic and cook until soft but not coloured. Add the fresh porcini slices with 2 tbsp of the wine and toss around for a minute over a low heat, you want the mushrooms to stew rather than fry. Season, cover with a lid and set aside.

Bring the stock to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.

Melt the first 75g of  butter in a heavy-based pan and add the chopped onion. Cook gently until soft but not coloured (about 5 minutes).

Add the dried porcini, then the rice and stir to coat the grains in the butter. Make sure the grains are warm before adding the rest of the wine. Let the wine evaporate completely so the onion and rice are dry.

Start to gradually add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring the rice all the time. Wait until each addition of stock has almost evaporated before adding any more. Keep cooking like this for about 15 minutes, adding the stock and stirring continually as above. Taste and keep cooking until the grains are soft, but still have a little bite.

Turn the heat down and add the fresh porcini and the parsley. Allow the risotto to rest for a minute, then vigorously beat in the 75g cold diced butter with a wooden spoon and then the Parmesan. Season to taste and serve.

Wine Suggestion: Something with a bit of what wine geeks call sous bois (forest floor) or in other words some earthy or mushroomy flavours. Pinot Noir is a classic match and an oaked Chardonnay similarly, but given the Italian inspiration this would also pair beautifully with an elegant and developed Barolo or an aged Brunello di Montalcino.

(Original recipe from Georgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy Food & Stories, Fourth Estate, 2006.)

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This is a fabulous recipe for left-over roast chicken and it’s even worth roasting a bird especially (though we cheated with a shop-bought rotisserie one). You can make a decent chicken stock by pouring water over the carcass and simmering it with a carrot, bay leaf and onion for half an hour.

Creamy Roast Chicken Risotto – to serve 2

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50g butter
  • small bunch of thyme leaves
  • 250g arborio rice
  • 1 litre hot chicken stock
  • 350g leftover roast chicken, torn into bite-size chunks
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • Parmesan, grated

Melt the butter in a heavy, shallow pan and cook the onion gently until soft but not coloured. Stir in the thyme leaves and the rice and stir until the rice is glistening. Add a little of the hot stock and bring slowly to the boil. Turn the heat down and gradually add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring. Stir in the roast chicken as you add the last ladleful of stock.

After about 20 minutes the rice should be tender but with a little bite to it. Stir in the crème fraîche and parsley, then some seasoning. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving with a little Parmesan grated over.

Wine Suggestion: A glass of Vintage Champagne if you’re feeling extravagant or  a good Maconnais white, like Pouilly-Fuisse or possibly even something from Roussillon like a Limoux… the choices are endless but don’t go too dry you need a bit of fruitiness here to help with the richness of the dish and a bit of body too otherwise the wine will be overwhelmed.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Real Food, Fourth Estate, 1998.)

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