Friday, 1 August 2014


Risotto is one of those dishes that, for so long, I would only eat at restaurants. Notoriously 'difficult' and time consuming, I had been put off by tales of throwing out permanently charred pans and eating gritty tasting rice. However, after my ten millionth craving for ristotto, I decided to throw caution to the wind (wild, I know) and attempt to cook it myself at home! Spoiler alert; it wasn't that hard.

This recipe makes a basic Risotto Bianco with mushroom and leek, but you can add in any toppings/fillers you fancy as long as you keep the basic ingredients and technique the same! I will testify that my favourite is to use dried porcini mushrooms and add the soaking liquid in place of some of the stock - gives a great mushroomy depth!

This recipe makes enough for 4-6 people, we were having people over for dinner and also wanted enough to make arancini the next day so feel free to half/third the recipe as required!

You will need:
400g Arborio Rice
200ml Dry White Wine
1 Onion
1 Large Leek
350g Assorted Mushrooms
1 Litre Chicken/Vegetable Stock
3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
70g Butter
125g Parmesan (or vegetarian equivalent)
Snap Peas to garnish
Salt & Pepper to season

1. Begin by heating the stock, if you don't have stock feel free to use stock cubes dissolved in water - they'll work just as well! Bring to a rolling boil on a back burner and leave simmering.

2. Put olive oil and 50g of butter into a pan with high sides and add the garlic, onion, leek and most of the mushrooms on a low heat. Cook for 10 minutes until soft, without any browning.

3. Add the rice and stir to ensure each grain is coated with the oil/butter mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir, unlike with most rice dishes you will want the starches in the rice to come out and cause this dish to somewhat stick together and create a gloopy texture. When the rice is coated, turn the heat up to medium/medium-high.

4. The outside of the rice grains will start to become translucent as you fry, remember to constantly stir as you cook. When you see the grains become translucent, add the wine and cook until it has fully absorbed into the rice. Salt and pepper.

- Although the alcohol cooks off from the wine in this dish, if you wish to omit the alcohol just use a ladle of stock in it's place. However the wine gives a great base flavour so I would advise using it where possible!

5. Turn the heat down to medium/medium-low so the pan is at a simmer and add your first ladle of stock from the simmering pot. Wait until the stock has absorbed and add the next one, all whilst continuously stirring. Continue this for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked. It should be soft, with a slight bite in the centre.

6. Turn off the heat and last 20g of butter and the parmesan and incorporate well into the rice mixture. Cover the pan with a lid and let sit for 2-4 minutes.

7. While waiting, fry off the remaining sliced mushrooms and snap peas in a dry pan.

8. Serve up and enjoy!

Hopefully you'll enjoy this as much as I do, it's great and doesn't require nearly as much effort as is made out! If you want a good, filling meal then give it a shot.


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