Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easy risotto

Every time I make risotto- today included- I am struck by how easy it is, and how much my kids love it. Maybe because there are heaps of seriously gourmet versions out there (champagne and zucchini flower risotto drizzled with truffle oil, anyone?), many people think that risotto is hard to make, but it isn't! The only commitment is that you have to be present for the cooking- 15 minutes or so. But for a dinner that my boys love, and that can be frozen for easy leftovers later, the time-investment-to-return equation is pretty good.
This is what I threw together tonight:

Quick and easy risotto with pumpkin and zucchini
For my simple risottos, the base is the same but different vegetables or meat can be added. If it's a vegetable like pumpkin that is likely to squish up with too much stirring, pre-cook it and add it at the end (unless you're making it for a baby, in which case squished is good. Did I mention risotto is great baby food?)

Earlier: I roasted 1 cup pumpkin cut in 1cm dice by spreading it on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzling with olive oil (I used garlic-infused oil) and cooking at 160C for about an hour (until soft through)

2tbs butter
1 rasher bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 zucchini
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup stock, optionally warmed* (I used my homemade no-added-salt chicken stock as the salt in the bacon and cheese is enough)
~1 cup milk (or a bit more), optionally warmed* (I use milk to increase the calcium in the risotto)
~1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or other) cheese

*the proper way to make risotto is with warm/hot liquids, but it works ok for me with cool liquids). I warm the liquids in the microwave to save washing up; purists would have it steaming in a saucepan on an adjacent hob.

Put a saucepan over medium heat and fry the bacon in the butter for a few minutes, until starting to brown. Add the garlic and zucchini and sautee until soft. Then add the rice and stir. Add about a third of a cup of stock and stir until absorbed (so no wet bits are evident). Repeat twice more, which means the cup of stock has all soaked in. Now do the same with the rmilk, adding thirds of a cup and stirring until absorbed. One one cup of milk is incorporated, taste to determine whether the rice is cooked through. If not, continue stirring in one third cupfuls of milk until cooked through. Now stir in the cheese and the pumpkin, taste for seasoning and serve to the waiting hoards!


MummaBear said...

oh YUM!! I love risotto but have never cooked it myself! I am going to have to give it a shot! Seems easier than I thought!!

_vTg_ said...

Do try! After seeing your pizza-making pics I got thinking that it would be easy to make a simple risotto base and have a range of pre-cooked meat and veg that kids could add at the last step for personal risotto.
Thanks for the comment! I always get a (extra) buzz when I get comments from bloggers who I like to read!

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