Recipe Tree Risotto.
This is where recipe trees started. I taught my daughters the base risotto last summer and it occurred to me the kids should all have a repertoire of a few basic recipes that they can elaborate on to take into the world.
Since then I have become emphatic that I want them to grow up enjoying freshly prepared food with as little processed ingredients as possible. I strongly feel that it is my responsibility to wave them off into adulthood with a great attitude towards food and the skills to make the most of it.
Risotto is actually very straightforward, a great way to use up leftovers and get lots of vegetables into the family. Today me and the boys had a trip to a local farmers market and returned with a stash of local meat, veg and very full tummies after sampling just about everything. I think this is a great way to get the children of excited about what they are eating. I was actually sifting through the contents of the cupboards in my brain to see what to make for lunch and I came upon risotto.
I used to think risotto was a bit of a faff until I had a day at a cookery school and they taught me how to do it properly. I kicked myself for not having this as an easy comfort meal. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been using it as a store cupboard staple. Now I always keep risotto rice in my store and it works just as well as a quick use up summer lunch as it does a late night easy supper when my husband returns from one or other of his European jaunts.
300 g Risotto Rice
2 carrots diced finely
2 sticks of celery diced finely
I large onion diced finely
2 cloves of garlic grated
1 glass of white wine
A litre of veg or chicken stock (you might not use all of this but always best to have a bit extra)
A table spoon of olive oil
A knob of butter or marscapone
Gently heat some oil and butter in a heavy bottomed pan.
Add in your onion, carrot, celery and garlic (chefs (and French people) call this a Mirepoix, you will find it is a basis for loads of stuff)
Have the pan on a medium heat and tweak with a wooden spatula every 2 mins or so, there is no need to stir constantly.
When the mirepoix is soft add in your risotto rice and stir so it is coated in the oil and fully mixed through.
Add your glass of wine and bring to the boil. Allow it to continue boiling until it is nearly gone.
Add a ladle full of stock, stir once, stay by it but again you don’t need to keep stirring it, just a little tweak every so often. If it is boiling away really quickly turn the heat down a little. It should be just a gentle simmer.
After about 3 mins just move the rice to one side, ifyou can’t see any liquid add another ladle of stock.
Kepp repeating this for about 15 minutes. As before you do not need to stir constantly, if you do it will take longer, just keeping tweaking and checking if all the stock has been absorbed.
After 15 minutes it should be ready. Taste it. (Important)
Beat in a table spoon of Parmesan and your knob of butter/mars capote to give it a creamy consistency.
Now you are ready to stir thorugh the bits that make it you!
How to customise your risotto;
These are just a few ideas and things that we like in our family but really you can do what you like.
Fresh peas and that is all.
Today we got the fresh peas from the market and that was enough. The boys loved shelling them.
Chicken, asparagus and broccoli.
Chop up 2 cooked chicken breasts , a bunle of aspagus and a half a head of broccoli or a pack of tenderstem broccoli. Put the veg in boiling water for 3 minutes then drain and ricnxeunder cold water.
Stir the veg into the risotto about 5 minues before the rice has finished cooking and stir through the chicken after you have stirred in the marscapone
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato
Dice a small butternut squash and a couple of small sweet potatoes and keep your stock at a simmer next to your risotto, poach your orange veg in the stock for a bout 20 mins, so get it going just before you start doing the basic risotto. When your risotto is ready drain any left over stock away takea ¼ of the veg and mash it then stirring through with the marscapone, stir the rest through the rice.
Use Up Risotto
Any mediteranean veg lingering around at the bottom of the fridge can be chopped up small, fried ina frying pan for just a couple of minutes and stirred through the rice. I like, red onion, courgette, red pepper and maybe a bit of sweetcorn, a handful from a bag int he freezer weould do.
Likewise any meat from Sunday lunch or last nights tea can be chopped up small and added in with a handful of frozen peas for a great leftovers tea.