You know you have a winner when you cook something again and again without minding that much. This is one of my go-to recipes whenever I don’t want to think about fancy dishes or when I’ve had a tiring day. There is some prep work involved and some stirring, but you could always get someone to help with that! You can use a mixture of fresh mushrooms and it’s even better with some dried porcini soaked in a little hot water. (Don’t even dream of using the canned stuff, and if you do please don’t tell me.) I like to use chestnut mushrooms because they are tastier than the white button mushrooms. (I don’t buy porcini often!) Anyhow, you will get more flavour from the grated cheese and fresh parsley later. This is a simple but delicious winter dish. Serves 4.
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- 250g arborio
- knob of butter (approx. 25g)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- 2 tablespoons grated cheese (Pecorino or Parmeggiano)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- Pour the olive oil and butter in a large-ish saucepan and add the onions, garlic and mixed spice. Stir until everything is coated by the melted butter.
- Add the arborio and 1 ladle of stock, and stir until this is absorbed by the rice. Continue to add 1 ladle full to 2 of vegetable stock at a time while stirring often. Add the mushrooms when you have used around half of the amount of stock. When you have finished adding the stock and the rice has absorbed it you should end up with a creamy consistency. If it is too dry try adding more stock.
- Remove it from the heat, add the grated cheese and parsley and mix these into the rice. Call everyone to the table and serve at once.
A note on something completely different: I will be away for a couple of weeks, but will be back with some new recipes as soon as I’m back in Surrey, just in time for the run-up to Christmas. Enjoy!
For the past few days I’ve been thinking about how nice it would be to have someone else prepare a meal for me during those few days that I’m either too tired to cook or when I’m less inspired or lack ideas. Yes it happens to all of us…*sigh*. In fact today is one of those days. Thankfully I have dinner ready in the fridge so I don’t have to worry about that now. However even though occasionally I tend to keep ready-made pesto for a quick plate of pasta, there are easy solutions for those instances when only a little stirring is required.
Easy can mean a lot of things; soups, pasta and rice dishes or even a roast would do. Two posts ago I gave you a recipe from James Tanner which is almost too easy to believe, and it beats the usual bread and cheese supper. As for desserts he has a recipe for a Chocolate and Almond Torte which I want to try very soon. This recipe for risotto is slightly adapted from Nigella Bites. You need:
- 2 spring onions or one small white onion, finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- 60g butter, unsalted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 300g arborio rice
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons grated cheese, parmesan or kefalotiri
- 60ml cream
- pepper, to taste
In a wide saucepan, heat the oil, 30g of the butter, onions and celery. Cook this until softened, stirring almost continuously. Add all the rice, again stirring to coat with the onion mixture. Meanwhile prepare the vegetable stock. (I find that using stock powder, like Marigold gives you a more delicate flavour than using a cubes. In an ideal world you would use fresh stock which you can get at the supermarket.)
Pour some stock into the rice and keep stirring till this is absorbed. Repeat this till the rice is cooked. You may need all the stock and add some boiling water from the kettle.
Stir the lemon zest and dried rosemary in the risotto. In a separate small bowl beat the egg, lemon juice, grated cheese, pepper and cream. Remove the risotto from the heat and add this cheesy mixture to the rice and add the remaining butter. You could also add some salt to taste.
Serve on it’s own or with some grilled salmon, which I rub with olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh lemon juice. The risotto serves 2 – 3.