Monday is Risotto Night

Posted on September 7, 2009


As you may have read from earlier post, we often have risotto on a Monday. If there is meat left from the Sunday roast I will concoct a pie or some sort of crispy meat dish, but this Weekend was a bit topsy turvy and we had our Sunday Roast on Friday. The leftover roast chicken was turned into something that I am cannot blog about until the end of the month, so check back in then!

I am halfway through making tonight’s risotto and have put it on hold for half an hour as I realise that I have got ahead of myself and Ed won’t be home for a bit. I was ‘taught’ how to make risotto, mainly by Ed, as he used to do all the cooking, and also with a bit of advice from Pete at The Dining Room.

To celebrate a friends birthday a small group of us spent a great day at the tiny restaurant in Ashbourne learning to cook a meal and then having the pleasure of eating our creations in the restaurant afterwards. We had a fantastic day, starting with bacon butties and hot coffee. We then moved onto boning out chickens and making various dishes from them, making tiny dough balls and baking cheesecake. Once Pete got the measure of us and realised we enjoy taking the mickey out of each other and generally swearing quite a bit we got on famously.

The session ended with empty plates,  full tummies and rosy cheeks all round. It also left us with the confidence to make more of an effort to try new things in the kitchen with all of us having a go at the recipes again within the week.

Whilst I am waiting to kick off the tea again I thought I would jot down our way of cooking risotto. I am sure everyone has their own take on it, but here is what we do. I like to get all the ingredients ready before hand as if I am on some 1970’s cookery programme like this:

Chop 1 onion, 2 carrots, 1-2 sticks of celery, 2 garlic cloves, 1 pack of thinly sliced pancetta. In a sauce pan heat a litre of good hot chicken stock.

In a large, preferably non stick pan, fry off the pancetta until all the fat has run out. Then stir in the carrot, celery, onion and garlic. and cook down until most of the moisture is gone and the quantity has halved, adding a bit of olive oil if things start to brown too quickly. Stir in half a pack, 250g, of Carnaroli Risotto Rice and stir until it crackles.

Flamboyantly throw in a glass of Vermouth or white wine and stir well. Then start adding ladles full of hot stock, one at a time, as you keep stirring and stirring. Only add a new ladle full when the last one has been absorbed. When you have added most or all of the stock and the rice is just about done, take it off the heat. Add a handful of parmesan and an ounce of butter. Stir and leave it with the lid on for 10 minutes. This is when I add any interesting extras like skinned and deseeded tomatoes or fresh peas.

Our additions vary as the seasons change, todays onion has been replaced by shallots from the garden, the tomatoes give way to edamame beans and the carrot has been grated because I have grown an aversion to chopping carrots.

To keep with the tv show theme, here’s one I made earlier:

This recipe is also featured on the Fabulous Places blog.