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This recipe for white risotto is the basis for your choice of addition. My favourites are Pea & Onion and Chicken & Chorizo.


The rice:
1 shallot or small onion (very finely chopped)
6 handfuls of risotto rice. (It’s supposed to be Arborio rice. To be honest I use risotto or paella for both dishes. Whatever I have in. The rice is very similar.).

Measurement: 6 handfuls of rice probably serves 2 with some leftovers. (I’ll cove to leftovers later. It’s a very scientific measurement. 2 handfuls each, 1 for the dog, one for good luck?.)

1 glass of white wine. (If there’s any left in the bottle ?but works without.)

2 handfuls of finely grated Parmesan cheese, Pecorino or any hard Italian cheese. Just to clarify…. that’s grated cheese from a block, definitely not that stuff that comes in a drum for sprinkling over pasta from the 70’s. Erm…. that’s grated toenails????.
1 knob of butter.
Olive oil

(Have everything prepared before you start. You’re going to be doing a lot if stirring.)

The Stock (in another pan):
1 vegetable stock cube
1 and 1/2 pints of boiling water

Keep the stock on a small heat. You’re going to be using it for 20 mins.


Sweat the shallot/onion in a little olive oil for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir in, coating the rice in oil over a low heat. Continue to roast the rice for another minute. Keep it on the move with a wooden spoon and don’t let the rice burn. The rice will “sing”?.

Add in the white wine, or the first ladleful of hot stock and stir until the wine is absorbed. Keep stirring. Did I tell you you’re going to be here for 20 minutes??

As the stock is almost absorbed, add in another ladle of stock and stir. You will need most of the stock added as the rice cooks. Watch it doesn’t stick to the base or side of the pan. It will become “creamy” and translucent. Try some after about 15 minutes. Some people like a bit of a bite in the rice(al dente like pasta) but you don’t want it hard.

When the rice is cooked, stir in a knob of butter and the Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat, put the lid on the pot and rest for a couple of minutes before serving. If it’s really thick, add another splash of stock. This is the basic white Risotto, lovely on its own.

You thought you were finished…… here’s a couple of our favourite additions.

Pea and onion: simple but lovely. Neuk a couple of handfuls of frozen peas with a splash of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Cover with cling film/wrap and pierce with a knife. Do the same with an onion chopped into dice. Drain the water and set both aside before you start the risotto …..because you’ll be stirring. Add the peas and onion into the basic risotto after the Parmesan stage to warm through.

Chicken and Chorizo:
1 pre-cooked chicken breast or if you have some leftover chicken. Slice into chunks. Neuk for a minute.
1/2 a Chorizo Spanish sausage. This can be the ordinary or spicy one. I always peel off the paper/condom skin?. Slice up into 1/4 inch slices and fry briefly on both sides in a separate pan. Drain away most of the oil that renders off. Make a little tomato sauce in the same pan, sweating off a little finely chopped onion, tomato and a bit of water/stock. Just enough to bring the Chorizo together as a little stew.

Set both aside and add into the basic risotto at the Parmesan stage and stir through. The sauce will colour the rice.

Lastly…… should you have any leftovers from any of the above ?. It makes a great filling for stuffed bell peppers. Either as a starter or main course.
Just half the peppers and fill with the risotto. Place in a dish, drizzle with olive oil and cover with a jar of tomato passata or tomato pasta sauce. Bake in the oven at 160c for about 45 minute until the peppers are soft. It can also be neuked in the microwave for about 20 minutes.

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