I love risotto and I love making it. I know some people really struggle to make it, but once you’ve cracked it then it’s a really handy thing to add to your repertoire. It’s one of our “nothing in the cupboard” meals and great for using up odds and sods in your fridge.
We have two favourites in our house. Tomato risotto and aubergine risotto. We cheese them up a bit more to make it more toddler friendly as he adores cheese. I’ve been asked a few times for my risotto recipe so I’ve decided to blog it. It’s fairly standard really. Here’s my basic risotto recipe with both tomato and aubergine options. It feeds about 4 and any leftovers (pah!) can always be turned into arancini the next day.
Finely chop an onion and fry gently until soft in some olive oil. Add a crushed clove of garlic (or more if you like garlic) and cook for a minute. At this point I add the risotto rice. If I’m being sensible I weigh it (250g) but mostly just use about half a 500g packet. Stir the rice and cook it for a couple of minutes. Add a small glass of white wine if you have it open, but I tend to use a smaller amount of dry vermouth as we rarely drink wine and the vermouth works just as well.
Stir through and then start adding hot stock. I use veg stock but you can use chicken if you’re that way inclined. At this point I usually add my tomato or aubergine, but more of that later. Keep stirring and loving your risotto, adding stock a ladle at a time until the rice is cooked to how you like it. Give it a taste and check for seasoning, add salt, pepper and I like chilli flakes to your taste. Add some grated cheese (we use Pecorino and cheddar, as like I said, the boy loves it cheesy, but add as much or as little as you like), stir through and take off the heat, let it rest for a few minutes.
In a frying pan I chop fresh, good quality tomatoes in a dab of butter, usually some cherry tomatoes and some vine tomatoes. As they start to release their juice I add salt, pepper, a touch of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness and some fresh or dried herbs. I usually go for dried oregano and some mixed herbs.
Once the tomatoes are collapsed I pick out some of the skins, it’s a personal preference, I don’t mind them but some do. Then at the point where I start adding stock I chuck in the tomatoes.
You should note that as the tomatoes are very wet and juicy you really won’t need to add as much stock as you normally would. So do go easy.
You might want to add some tomato purée to the risotto if you think your tomatoes need a flavour boost, just don’t forget to cook the purée out.
If you like you can add some fresh spinach towards the end and stir through until wilted. I love spinach and it’s so good for you.
I tend to buy a few aubergines when I see them cheap, prep them and freeze them so there’s always a speedy risotto ingredient available.
Finely dice your aubergine and fry in some olive oil until cooked through and soft. (This is the point where I freeze them, usually in 200g portions).
Add the aubergine to the risotto when you start adding the stock so some of the aubergine flavour imparts itself on the rice.
It’s a really lovely, subtle recipe this one and I often use mozzarella instead of cheddar because I think it works slightly better, but in terms of cheese just chuck in whatever floats your boat.
So that’s my basic risotto recipe. It’s really easy and there’s no need to be afraid of it. Give it a try. Although I’ve only blogged my two favourites once you’ve got the method then you can try it with other ingredients.
What’s your favourite risotto?