Monday, 30 April 2012

Green Veg Risotto.

Anyone who tells you risotto is difficult is a damn liar. Or in idiot. One of the two.
It is piss easy.
Admittedly, I've only ever made veggie risottos, but one assumes that as long as your chicken/prawns/meaty chunks of choice are thrown in where I've thrown in the veg, and are cooked through before serving, it's all good.

'Green' risotto is a little vague, but there's courgette, spinach, peas and broccoli in here. 
Various other risottos I've made include: mushroom & bacon (I guess that's not veggie, but bacon cooks quickly enough), courgette & aubergine, root veg (carrot, parsnip, a little potato), and beetroot - fresh beetroot, that you have to peel. So far all I've been able to find in the supermarkets here is pickled or preserved 'fresh' beetroot and I don't trust it.

A note: you can use any rice. Arborio is the normal risotto rice because it absorbs the flavours well, but chances are you haven't got any lying around the house, and besides that, it's more expensive than normal rice and we're in a recession, dammit. Plain old long grain is fine, honest. It'll still soak up the stock and the flavours, just not quite as well as arborio. We had some sushi rice lying about - which is also super absorbent - so I used that, but I've used long grain before and it's been just as delicious.

In some places I've put things in brackets because that's what we used (frozen veg etc) but you can use fresh, obviously. 

Serves 2

1/2 a courgette, diced 
A handful of spinach
A handful of (frozen) peas
4 large (frozen) broccoli florets
1/2 (red) onion, diced (you can use yellow onion either)
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
Large handful of rice

Chicken or veg stock cube (I used chicken)

Splash of white wine (optional)
Splash of single or double cream
Olive oil


Prepare your veg - everything should be ready just to throw in the pan so you can concentrate on stirring once it's on the go. Seriously, this is the only trick to the risotto. If you've got an arm that is capable of stirring, you're good to go.
Meanwhile, in one pan, put the stock cube in a pan with around a litre of water. Bring it to the boil then turn down the heat so it stays hot throughout cooking.

In another (a large, deep frying pan is best), let 2 biggish knobs of butter and a splash of olive oil melt into each other. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes, then throw in the fresh veg. Again, fry for a couple of minutes, until coated in the oil, then add the rice and make sure this is coated in the oil too.
Your frozen veg goes in now, along with the salt, pepper and oregano.

Once everything in the pan has a nice coat of oil on it, get a ladle and spoon the stock into the pan one scoop at a time - you add one scoop to the risotto, and let it soak in, stirring all the time so that all the rice has time to absorb it. When the water is almost completely soaked in, add another scoop until the stock pan is empty. It'll probably take 3 or 4 scoops for the rice to really start to fluff up, so don't worry that your rice isn't cooking, unless you reach the bottom of your stock and it's still not fluffy (in which case, just add more water...)

When you add the last bit of stock, also add the wine and cream, and stir well. In the end, the sauce doesn't need to soak in completely, as the dish should still be rich and creamy, but  also thick.

Add more black pepper to the top to serve.

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