Posts Tagged “risotto”

Squid Risotto I love how eye catching this risotto is. The jet-black of the squid ink is pretty amazing, especially when it's contrasted with the white sauteed squid on top, which is nicely scored in a criss-cross pattern and finished with a pinch of persillade, which adds a nice hint of green. It's a good-looking dish, that's undeniable, but it also tastes great too of course! Ask your fishmonger to separate the squid bodies and tentacles. The tentacles are great fried whole until they're crisp and they are perfect for garnishing the top of the risotto with, but I also like to chop some of them into small pieces and put them in the _soffrito_ with the shallots and garlic. If you fry them in a hot pan until they're caramelised and sticky, this gives a powerful savoury base for the risotto. Even if the squid has been cleaned and prepped beforehand, scoring the bodies properly is a bit time consuming and requires some finesse to get it right. It's worth making the effort to make it nice though. --- * 3 medium squid, cleaned * 1 sachet squid ink * 200g carnaroli rice * 2 medium banana shallots, finely chopped * 1 glassful dry white wine * 500ml chicken stock, or vegetable stock * 50g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm dice * 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * extra virgin olive oil * 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped * 1 handful parsley, finely chopped 1. Firstly, prepare the squid. Hopefully your fishmonger has already cleaned the squid and separated the bodies from the tentacles. Rinse the squid under running cold water. Set aside 1 set of tentacles for each portion, for the garnish at the end. Now remove the wings from the sides of the squid bodies and the remaining tentacles and finely chop them with a sharp knife, then set aside. 2. Scoring the bodies of the squid is a bit fiddly: cut each of the bodies down one side to create a flat piece of squid. The outside of the squid is noticeably tougher than the inside, which is fairly soft. Place each one on the chopping board, _soft side down_ and trim the edges so until uniformly smooth and use the knife to scrape any stray bits of membrane off. You want to score the soft side of the squid in lines about 3mm apart, but you should be careful not to cut all the way through. It's actually easier if you're knife isn't very sharp. Once all the squid is scored, store it on a kitchen towel or j-cloth and set aside. 3. Make some _persillade_ by mixing about a teaspoonful of the chopped garlic with the chopped parsley. Now for the risotto. Place a large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped squid with a generous pinch of salt. Stir briefly, then leave the squid alone to caramelise. When it's starting to colour, stir it again. A bit of liquid will probably be released as it's cooking which is fine, just let it boil off. When all the liquid has gone and the squid is sticky and sweet, add the shallots and garlic. Turn the heat down to low and add some more olive oil if the pan is looking a bit dry. Cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes until the shallots are soft and sweet. 4. Make sure the stock is boiling hot. Add the rice, and turn the heat to high. Stir and fry the rice in the sticky shallots and squid for about 1 minute, then add the white wine. Turn the heat to medium and stir continuously until all the liquid is gone. Add the stock, one ladleful at a time, and keep stirring. Continue like this until the rice is _just_ cooked. It's important to _not stop stirring_ as you need to massage as much starch out of the rice as possible. 5. When the rice is ready, take it off the heat and add the butter (leaving a bit aside for the garnish), a little at a time, until it's thoroughly mixed in. Add the parmesan and about a ½ teaspoon of the squid ink. Stir until thoroughly mixed, then put a lid on the risotto and set aside while you prepare the garnish. 6. Take a heavy-based frying pan and place it over a high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wait for it to get hot (about 20 seconds). Take the scored squid and the reserved tentacles and season them with salt. Place the scored squid in the pan, scored side down, and throw in the tentacles. Fry them until they're caramelised, then remove from the heat and allow the pan to cool for about 30 seconds. Add a small piece of butter and about 1 teaspoon of persillade, and toss until the squid is coated. Ladle the risotto into bowls and garnish with the sauteed squid.

Bacon and Pea Risotto The risotto remains one of my regular weeknight meals. It's quick to prepare and, to make a plain _risotto bianco_, requires only a few basic ingredients. It's what I call a "store cupboard" meal, meaning that the ingredients it comprises all keep for a long time, either in the fridge or the cupboard, so you can always keep them in stock, waiting to be made into a delicious risotto at a moment's notice. My [winter risotto](https://www.grubdaily.com/risotto-winter-greens) was essentially just a plain risotto with some cavolo nero added. I've taken a similar approach here, but with peas, to keep it seasonal. I've added some crisp bacon lardons for good measure. The salty savouriness of the bacon compliments the sweet peas perfectly and it provides a lovely colour contrast, too. --- * 140g risotto rice * 1 small onion, finely chopped * 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped * 1 glassful dry white wine * 60g parmesan cheese, finely grated * 40g unsalted butter, chopped * 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * 200g garden peas, fresh or frozen * 150g streaky bacon, cut into lardons * 1 litre chicken stock * vegetable oil, for frying 1. The secret to a good risotto is to stir it _continuously_ as the rice is cooking. This is the only way of getting the ultimate glossy and thick texture. You won't have time to do any prep at the same time so be sure to measure all the ingredients out and get everything chopped before you start. 2. Place a medium sized frying pan over a medium heat and put in about ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the lardons and fry until crisp. Remove the lardons from the pan and set aside in a bowl. 3. Now to start the risotto. Place a medium high-sided pot or pan over a medium high heat and add the olive oil. Wait until the oil is hot, about 1 minute, then add the onion and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Immediately turn down the heat and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and sweet. This is the _soffrito_. 4. Now turn the heat to high and add the rice. Stir vigorously for about 30 seconds to coat the rice in the flavour of the soffrito, then add the wine. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue to stir until all the liquid has gone. From this point the risotto will take about 15 minutes.Continue to add the chicken stock, 1 ladleful at time, stirring continuously to massage and coax the starch from the rice. This creates the thick sauce of the risotto. 5. After about 15 minutes, the risotto should be ready. When you taste a grain of rice, there should be a _slight_ bite to it. If it's still quite hard, continue cooking for a bit longer. Turn the heat off, then add the chilled butter and parmesan gradually, whilst beating the risotto to emulsify it into a lovely creamy texture. If it seems too thick, add a bit of stock. As Giorgio Locatelli says "It should ripple like waves on the sea". If you run out of stock, just use boiling water. 6. At this point, add half of the peas to the risotto and stir through. Portion the risotto into bowls and garnish with the remaining peas and lardons. Finish with some parmesan shavings.

Risotto of Winter Greens It's one of my comfort foods, the risotto. I've become very fond of this classic dish over the years, possibly because it's a fairly quick, easy meal that can be rustled up at a moment's notice. A plain _risotto bianco_ is hard to beat I reckon, especially when served alongside a simple green salad and a glass of crisp white wine. And it only takes a little more than 30 minutes from start to finish. This risotto is a little more involved, however. It's a proper winter dish, making good use of _cavolo nero_, that classic vegetable so loved by the Italians, and tough winter herbs thyme and rosemary to give a depth of earthiness. Cavolo nero has wonderful textured leaves that are strikingly dark green, hence its English name "black kale". The more nutrition-conscious out there will know of its status as a superfood, but it's also got an intense savouriness that goes perfectly with something bold like a risotto. I fried some in hot oil until crispy, and sprinkled it with sea salt. A perfect garnish for the risotto as it adds a nice bit of texture. Be careful when frying it though because it will sizzle violently! For this recipe you'll need 3 pots; one for the risotto, one for the chicken stock and one for the fried cavolo nero. If you're organised though you could fry the cavolo nero beforehand and wash the pot. --- * 140g risotto rice * 1 small onion, finely chopped * 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped * 1 glassful dry white wine * 1 bunch thyme * 2 sprigs rosemary * 1 handful baby spinach * 750g cavolo nero (black kale) * 40g parmesan cheese, finely grated * 40g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces * 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * 1 litre chicken stock * vegetable oil, for frying 1. The secret to a good risotto is to stir it _continuously_ as the rice is cooking. This is the only way of getting the ultimate glossy and thick texture. So we'll measure all the ingredients out and get everything chopped before we start. 2. Pick the leaves from the thyme, being careful to leave behind the woody stalks. Place them in a bowl, then pick the leaves from the rosemary, and chop them finely. Line up the long rosemary stalks in batches, which makes for easier chopping. Add to the bowl with the thyme. You should have approx 2 full tablespoons of chopped/picked herbs. Remove the tough central stalks from the cavolo nero leaves. Take approximately a third of the leaves and cut them into roughly squares. Roughly chop the rest of it into small shreds. Bring the chicken stock to the boil. Make sure your garlic and onion are finely chopped, ready to go. 3. The final preparation step is to fry the squares of cavolo nero for our garnish. In a medium high-sided pot, add vegetable oil to 1cm depth and place over a medium-high heat. Wait about 3 minutes for the oil to heat up (might take longer, depending on the size of your pot), then add the cavolo nero. _It will spit hot oil at you violently; be careful!_ When the cavolo nero has almost stopped sizzling, it's crispy. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or _spider_ and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. 4. Now, to start cooking. Place a medium high-sided pot or pan over a medium high heat and add the olive oil. Wait until the oil is hot, about 1 minute, then add the onion and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Immediately turn down the heat and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and sweet. This is the _soffrito_. 5. Now turn the heat to high and add the rice. Stir vigorously for about 30 seconds to coat the rice in the flavour of the soffrito, then add the wine. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue to stir until all the liquid has gone. From this point the risotto will take about 15 minutes. Set a timer for 10 minutes, which is when we'll add the shredded cavolo nero and herbs. Continue to add the chicken stock, 1 ladleful at time, stirring continuously to massage and coax the starch from the rice. This creates the heavenly unctuous sauce of the risotto. When the timer goes off, add the shredded cavolo nero and herbs. Stir, and continue cooking. 6. After about 15 minutes, the risotto should be ready. When you taste a grain of rice, there should be a _slight_ bite to it. If it's still quite hard, continue cooking for a bit longer. Add the baby spinach and stir until it's wilted. Turn the heat off, then add the chilled butter and parmesan gradually, whilst beating the risotto to emulsify it into a lovely creamy texture. If it seems too thick, add a bit of stock. As Giorgio Locatelli says "It should ripple like waves on the sea". If you run out of stock, just use boiling water. 7. Portion the risotto into bowls and garnish with the fried cavolo nero. The risotto does not keep well, so eat immediately.

Barley Risotto with Chicken Years ago my friend Cecily showed me how to make risotto, she was so enthusiastic about the merits of this dish and was amazed that I’d never made it before! It was the start of a beautiful relationship with this Italian classic; now a staple in my repertoire, I must have made hundreds of risottos, including a few variations…barley is a nice alternative to rice and perfect to serve with chicken. We feed barley to the hens on the farm, so this seems like an apt combination for a dish. A benefit of using barley instead of rice is that it’s considerably more difficult to overcook. Also the grains give a lovely bursting sensation when you chew them which is fantastic. Firstly, I like to caramelise some finely diced pancetta or home-cured bacon to release some vital fat and get an amazing flavour base before adding finely chopped onion to sweat down slowly and gently. I will sweat the onion for a good fifteen minutes before adding anything else, making sure they become soft and sweet. To add some extra flavour and a nice touch of colour, I cooked some carrot dice and some baby button mushrooms in a separate pan to be stirred into the risotto at the very end, along with a generous handful of chopped herbs. --- * 400g of pearl barley * 2 onions * 3 cloves of garlic * 75g of streaky bacon * 250ml of dry white wine * 1 1/2litres of chicken stock * 125g of baby button mushrooms * 2 carrots * 1 handful of chives, finely chopped * 1 handful of parsley, finely chopped * 80g of parmesan * 150g of unsalted butter * vegetable oil, for frying * olive oil * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks 1. Heat the oven to 180C, toss the chicken drumsticks in olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes, until golden and crisp. 2. Cut the pancetta into small dice and fry in a little oil until nicely coloured. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan, turning the heat down. Gently sweat for at least 15minutes until the onions have turned soft and sweet. Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan. 3. Rinse the barley for a few minutes under cold water, then add to the pan. Turn the heat up and stir for a minute, then add the white wine. Stir until the alcohol has boiled off, then turn the heat to medium and add your chicken stock, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently. 4. Cut the carrot into approx. 5mm dice and fry in some vegetable oil a separate pan until slightly caramelised and just cooked. Drain on kitchen paper. Quarter the mushrooms and do the same with them.