Tuesday, December 7, 2010

nearly risotto

Risotto recipes are often very intimidating and labour-intensive. This is my ‘easy as ..’ version – not exactly the same but very good in its own right, capable of infinite flavour variations, and not complicated at all.


Rice, any kind (I usually use long grain because of its lower GI – it doesn’t have to be Arborio, though that will give a finish more like a restaurant risotto) I generally work on approximately ¼ cup raw rice per person for serving as a side dish.

Liquid (double the volume of the rice e.g. 2 cups liquid for 1 cup of rice, + a wee bit more if you want it extra moist) Liquid can be anything you like – stock, (or water with some stock powder) wine (generally only replace part, e.g. a ¼ of the stock with wine) tomato juice .. you can also add small quantities of other flavouring liquids to the stock – e.g. lemon juice, sauces – depending on what flavour risotto you are making

A little fat (1or 2 tabs). Traditional risottos use butter, but I prefer olive oil – always have it on hand, it’s healthier, and it doesn’t burn like melted butter can if you take your eyes off it for a moment

After this – any other ingredients you like meat or veggies (if they need significant cooking e.g. steak strips or chicken, precook or at least brown them before adding) herbs or spices and, if you like it creamier (like a real risotto) cheat by stirring through some cheese or yogurt in the last couple of moments.

If not adding any other salty ingredients (like stock powder, bacon etc) a little extra salt is also good to add at the beginning – but that’s personal taste


Heat your oil in a suitable sized saucepan. Add rice (also any spices if you are using them) and stir for a couple of minutes till all the rice would be oiled. Add your liquid (all at once – keep life simple) and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally so no rice gets stuck on the bottom. Add any other ingredients (e.g. dried herbs, veggies) that will take being cooked for a while. Turn it down to a low simmer, and put the lid on. Every few minutes lift the lid, give it a good stir and check the progress. It should take about 20 minutes for all the liquid to be absorbed. Stir in last minute ingredients (anything that doesn’t want to be cooked for very long – fresh herbs, avocadoes, cheese, yogurt etc) and serve.

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