Saturday, 22 September 2007

Rice and Peasy Does It

My wife hates risotto. And kidneys. And a good rare steak. These just so happen to be 3 of my favourite things. So I suppose it is a good job that at times, opposites attract actually makes sense.

Not that it doesn't drive me mad. When I feel the need for any of those foodstuffs, I have to make two different meals. I now class a rare steak or a risotto as my Saturday night meal, or a meal I make for myself when my wife has gone out for the night. A little self indulgence, and no need to make two different meals.

Risotto is true comfort food. If you are feeling a little under the weather I find that warm savoury rice, sticky with strong Parmesan cheese, tends to lift the spirits. It is also a great dish to eat in those self indulgent moments, with a good bottle of wine on a Saturday night all to yourself and a movie of your choice on the box.

This risotto is one I turn to time and time again. No frills, just 20 minutes stood over the pan with a glass of wine and some music on. People tend to be put off making a risotto due to this essential 20 minutes of stirring. I find it comforting, therapeutic and peaceful, not to mention exciting as this classic Italian savoury dish slowly comes together to make for the perfect Saturday night food.

Pea, Mint and Saffron Risotto
Feeds 1

100g risotto rice, such as Arbario or Carnaroli
400ml vegetable or chicken stock, boiling hot
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
A pinch of saffron
2 handfuls of frozen peas
A handful of fresh mint, chopped
25g Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 - Heat the olive oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the onion. Cook until soft, around 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and rice and stir for 1 minute so that the rice is coated in the oil.
2 - Add the saffron, then add 1 ladleful of stock. Stir until the stock is absorbed and then continue to add ladlefuls of stock, stirring each time until absorbed. Do this for approximately 15-20 minutes.
3 - Test the rice. It should be soft but still retaining a bite. Stir in the peas. Taste for seasoning.
4 - Take off the heat and stir in the cheese and fresh mint. Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle over more Parmesan. Put your feet up and enjoy the peace!


Cynthia said...

David, do you know it is exactly about risotto that your wife does not like? Personally, I'm not a big fan of the dish either, I don't like the necessary bite that the rice must have to it and creamy rice for me means only 1 thing - rice pudding.

If those are the things about it that she does not like, you can check out a rice and peas post I made sometime back, perhaps she may like that:

Anh said...

Unlike your wife, I love risotto! For an Asian like me, the risotto texture was strange at first but I got hooked quite immediately. :)

Lovely recipe!

Wendy said...

I'm a massive fan of risotto. It's the ultimate comfort food for me and there's so very many ways to adapt it.
Love using saffron but my very favourite is risotto blanco with Parma ham and rocket on top. :)

William Leigh said...

I don't come here for the recipes anymore, just the puns. You never fail to crack me up old chap. We should have a natter soon.

Hope your family are well.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I love risotto and thankfully the rest of the household does too. It's so easy and I'm afraid I'm a leave it to do it's own thing with the odd stir here and there... lazy see!

Pat said...

David that sounds yummy!!!! I love risotto and I am lucky so does hubby!!! We usually have it at least once a week. Great way for using things up in the fridge too!

Anonymous said...

LOve it! Would never refuse it. Your recipe sounds delicious :)

Joanna said...

Good flavours in your risotto. Saffron and mint I've never combined.

I have the same problem as you, only in my case it's anything spicy that the others won't eat. I really won't make two meals for sitting, so it's either curry for lunch on my own, or when my husband is out, or when No 2 (who likes spice) is the only one at home. Very glad I'm not alone in this - but I'm sorry your wife doesn't like risotto.


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I love risotto David. I look for it on the menu and am always willing to try new flavour comninations. I can't say that I make it very often at home. I don't know if I find it intimidating or what's the scoop.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Sounds delicious, especially that I love rice and all kinds of risotto.
But I do not spend 20 minutes stirring and it is coming out really tasty! :)
Enjoy your day, Margot

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

I agree! 20 minutes of repetitive, mindless stirring with a glass of really nice wine to meditate over (and the rest of the bottle to look forward to) is about as cozy and relaxing an end to the day as you'll find! I think it's risotto for us tonight. The only problem is that it's only noon and I now want wine. And it's so unimpressive to already smell boozy when your husband comes home from work at 5:30. Drat! Another evocative and utterly crave-able post!

David Hall said...

Cynthia - it is the bite, exactly as you say, her head telling her it should not be savoury. Ho hum!


winedeb said...

I remember my mom used to make 2 different dinners when she cooked liver and onions. My brother and I totally refused to eat the liver, so mom would make us a nice juicy hamburger! Thank you for a nice memory! I, like you, enjoy cooking the risotto. It is good to just stir away and take in the aromas knowing what will be hitting the plate soon!

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Since recently returning from a holiday Tunisia with a huge bag of saffron I have been trying to collect recipes that use it. More difficult than you'd think! I will definitely have a go at this recipe, I adore risotto.

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