When I woke up this morning I kept reminding myself that it’s Thursday (not Sunday) and a public holiday on the rock. It’s not as quiet as one might hope, and to type this I had to close the window in my study. It’s easy to focus now and I *am* calm. Which brings me to a recipe made best when you have a good thirty minutes of peace. So tell your partner in life to babysit the kids and the pets for a little while and spend some time in the kitchen with me.
One of the things I love about Malta is the fruit and veggie trucks you see dotted around the many towns and villages on the island. I love going to the one near to where I grew up in Birkirkara. I love visiting my mum too
which goes without saying and of course, going there brings back good memories. I have been meaning to post the following recipe and the above photo for ages so here it is. It’s starting to get warmer here now and we’re already finding plenty of spring and summer produce. I’m finding good quality strawberries too which I macerate in lemon juice, some sugar and pepper too. Delicious.
The other day my mum gave me a good bunch of broad beans which I ate as soon as I arrived home, podded and just sprinkled with a pinch of salt, extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice. (I know that you might be thinking about me having an unhealthy relationship with citrus, but on this island you get the freshest lemons and oranges you will ever find in your life, I promise, and I intend to make full use of that.) I simply ate them with a hunk of Maltese bread and a chunk of hard cheese. Again, delicious. That was one moment when I confirmed that the best things in life are really the simplest. This risotto makes me happy. Hope it makes you happy too.
- 300g fresh broad beans, shell removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 25g butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 400g arborio rice
- around 1 litre of vegetable stock
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 100g grated parmesan cheese
Remove the skins from the beans. Boil the broad beans in a pan of boiling water for around 5 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside for later.
In a heavy-bottomed pan tip the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted add the chopped onion and garlic on medium heat and sweat for a few minutes until the onion has turned translucent. Add the arborio rice into the pan and give everything a good stir making sure that the rice is completely covered with the butter and oil.
Add two thirds of the vegetable stock slowly, one or two ladles at a time until the rice has absorbed almost all of it. With risotto all you have to have is some patience to stay with it and stir it as necessary.
Now add the broad beans you have slightly cooked beforehand and continue to add the rest of the stock. Stir and wait for the rice to turn almost of a creamy consistency.
Turn off the heat, squeeze some lemon juice in the rice, add the grated cheese and check for seasoning. Serve immediately in shallow bowls. Serves 3-4 friends.