It started off in Rome, where I had a less than exciting mushroom risotto. I swear, those tourist restaurants skimp on quality and charge the earth, because they think we wouldn't know any better. It was alright, but I new there was some key element missing that would make everything right. That risotto was a little bit watery, and a little undercooked, not the best introduction, but I persevered.
A few months passed. We got married, life got in the way, and I was tired. I took a break from blogging, and it's been summer. We've had a heatwave, planned some renovations, and it's a new year. So in a bid to find something a bit more interesting (and vegetarian, in our bid to eat meat-free once a week), I decided to attempt risotto again. I bought the arborio rice, the Parmesan cheese, I planned a creamy, cheesy, mushroom risotto. You know, start with the basics. And you know what, people? It wasn't that hard. Sure, it took some time, and you can't go watch TV, but I was on the phone, and stir, stir, stirred away, and 45 minutes later, et voila! we had a plate of heaven on our hands! And I was hooked.
I scaled down the ingredient this time, as I was cooking for two, and the last batch (500g of rice) meant I was eating risotto for 3 days! These measurements were perfect for the two of us, with some leftovers for my lunch, win!
Roasted Broccoli and Blue Cheese Risotto for Two
1 onion, chopped
Small pat of butter
Glug of olive oil
250g (1 cup) arborio rice
± 100ml (1/3 cup) white wine
± 1 litre (4 cups) stock (I used about 1.5 litres)
Small head broccoli and cauliflower, cut into small florets
± 125g (1/2 cup)Parmesan cheese, grated
Half a wedge of blue cheese
- Saute the onion in the butter and oil for a few minutes until soft. I usually let them brown a bit, but if you want a whiter risotto, don't let them brown.
- In another pot, make up a litre of hot stock, and keep it on a low temperature for the duration of cooking. You want it to be warm, but not boiling. If you look like you'll run out of stock before the end of cooking time, top it up with some clod
- Add the rice to the pan, and turn up the heat a bit to toast the rice for a few minutes, until coated with the butter/oil, and slightly translucent on the edges - 2-3 minutes. Keep the rice and onion turning, so they don't burn.
- Add the wine to the hot pan, and turn down the heat to medium. The wine should bubble quite vigorously, and will boil away and evaporate quite quickly.
- When the wine has boiled away, start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. If you don't have a ladle, use a large spoon and put about 2-3 spoons in at a time. You want just enough to loosen it up, without drowning it. When that liquid's absorbed, add the next, and so you go, stirring, adding, stirring, adding continuously for about 35-45 minutes, or until your rice is cooked, with a slight firmness to it (al dente).
- When it's cooked, you can add anything - sautéed mixed mushrooms or asparagus, bacon bits or peas and mint, it's really up to you and your imagination, but I roasted up some broccoli and cauliflower (and then steamed a bit more, because it reduced too much when roasted), and added creamy blue cheese (Blue Tower from Fairview is a lovely, creamy blue, and doesn't cost the earth)
And after that long story, I leave you.
Take care, my friends..