It had been yonks and yonks since we'd had a risotto until last night. In my head they are a lot of effort, standing and stirring for hours and hours. But when I got a text from Mr M during the day yesterday, requesting we not have steak for dinner because he was in pain from his dental work, I thought that I would be a good and supporting wife and prepared myself to stand at the stove for hours and hours making a risotto.
But as I started chopping the ingredients I remembered that my risotto was actually really simple and not all that labour-intensive. And it wasn't even hours and hours. Half an hour. Tops. I worked with an Italian woman in Melbourne, who taught me how to make the most basic and tasty risotto, and I've been making it this way ever since.
I wanted all the ingredients to be fresh, but also soft, so I made a quick parsley pesto and grilled some cherry tomatoes until they were soft and squishy.
Follow the recipe for regular
, but use fresh flat-leaf parsley instead! I also added some pecan nuts too, which gave a slightly sweet taste. Mr M LOVES parsley so I knew it would be a winner with him at least. He has been known to buy so much parsley on the weekends that I started putting it in vases around the house!!!
1.5 cups aborio rice (this serves approximately 3)
4 cups chicken stock (2 chicken stock cubes + 4 cups of boiling water)
1 onion finely cut
1 T butter
And then the flavour combination of your choice.
1. Put a teaspoon of butter in a heavy-based (and preferably wide) pan on medium heat on the stove.
2. Add the chopped onion and stir until translucent and starting to brown (about 5 minutes)
3. Add the aborio rice and stir for a few minutes until it too has become translucent.
This is to show you the colour differential between the raw rice on the spoon and the "translucent" rice
4. Add a splash of your favourite white wine (Okay, perhaps not your
wine, but definitely one that you enjoy, because if you're only using a splash, there's a lot left to get through!). This will bubble and reduce really quickly so be sure to stir the rice around quickly.
5. Add half of the chicken stock to the rice.
6. Over ten minutes stir a few times until the liquid has almost completely gone. At this point, add in the rest of the stock.
7. Cover the pan (if you have a lid) and leave for ten minutes, stirring once or twice in this time only.
8. Taste a few pieces of rice and if it is still quite crunchy, you'll need more water and time. I added another half a cup of plain hot water (no more stock or it will become too salty) and gently stirred over the next ten minutes.
I needed a more sturdy spoon half way through!
9. The rice should have absorbed most of the liquid by this time and be al dente (cooked but still a little firm). I probably make mine too dry compared to a true Italian risotto, but I like it sitting in a mound on my plate, so there. Add the rest of your butter and stir through. This gives the risotto a lovely creamy and rich texture and helps take on whatever flavours are to come.
10. I then added the grilled tomatoes and parsley pesto and gently stirred through.
11. Season as you see fit and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan.
This tasted very much like a garden risotto in that the parsley made it so fresh and vibrant, whilst the grilled tomatoes gave it such an authentically Italian taste, so perhaps it was an Italian Garden Risotto! Or so I'll say anyway! We gobbled ours up and Mr M had no trouble chewing away so it was a win on all fronts!
So there you have it, how to make an authentic risotto in
half an hour! Now that we have remembered how good and non-evening-consuming risotto's are (and that my gluten intolerance can tolerate them), I get the feeling we'll be putting these back on the dinner roster for sure!
...maybe to accompany a steak next time though!