I never used to like risotto. I think I’d had a bad risotto at some point, then was more annoyed by the principle of the thing – as a vegetarian, when you eat out you can almost guarantee that for one of the courses, risotto will be one of the two options you can eat (it’s either risotto or some hideous aubergine dish – why? why do people think that vegetarians really like it when you do awful things to aubergine?)
I’ve actually managed to avoid risotto entirely for the past few years, until we went skiing in February. I mentioned my dislike one day, and the chalet hosts looked concerned as we were having mushroom risotto in a couple of days, but I said I’d try it as all the food had been delicious so far (apart from the polenta, but, well, it’s polenta). The risotto was indeed delicious. Flipping through a recipe book the other day I came across a recipe for risotto, and decided to try it for myself.
I didn’t use the recipe from the recipe book though, as they wanted me to microwave it (“which cuts down the need for stirring” – maybe, but you presumably have to tend to your microwave every few minutes anyway). Seeing as I was trying to achieve a risotto that was actually nice, I read up on a few recipes then freestyled it.
Ingredients (serves 2)
100g chestnut mushrooms
1 small onion
knob of butter
100g risotto rice
250ml stock or water
2 tbsp double cream (optional but makes it yummy)
grana padano or parmesan
pepper, to taste
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Chop the onion and mushrooms and add to the pan, cooking on a low heat until soft
2. Add the risotto rice and cook until translucent
3. Add the stock bit by bit, stirring until all is absorbed. Keep going until the rice is cooked and you are happy with the consistency (you may not need all the stock)
4. Turn off the heat. Add the cream and stir well, then season with the pepper. Finally, add the cheese (to taste)
It was delicious! The chestnut mushrooms gave the dish a beautiful sweetness that was just scrummy (so much so, that I would be hesitant to use any other mushrooms). Though I did have to stand and stir, it wasn’t like the risotto required my undivided attention, so it gave me a good opportunity to tidy up the kitchen and get out the things I needed for some cakes I was making. And it took under 30 minutes to make start to finish, so I was hardly chained to the kitchen for an unbearable amount of time. I took the leftovers for lunch and it was equally tasty reheated (so, it did see the inside of a microwave after all). Finally, it was one-pot, so minimal washing up. A weeknight winner if ever there was one!