"Risotto/Arborio rice cooked with broth and sprinkled with cheese'
Risotto (rice cooked with broth and sprinkled with cheese) has become one of my favourite home-cooked meals. It's always a winner - just follow the simple rules.
I get a thrill watching a few grains of rice plump up and take another complete form. The process, from featureless to incredible, is exciting to witness as the metamorphosis takes place in a pot. My enthusiasm encourages me to persuade you to go out and buy a packet of rice; then watch it happen for yourself.
The most important rules:
- Always ensure your butter-and-oil amount coats every rice grain
- Your stock must be boiling and have an enticing flavour
- Continuously stir in stock, ladle-by-ladle
- Never finish off with cream
I recently represented Hartford House at the KwaZulu-Natal Bubbly Celebrations at Piggly Wiggly Farm Stall in Tweedie where some 20 bubbly makers showcased their products and four restaurants cooked up a few taste combinations.
Our menu comprised a delicious creamy, garden-fresh pea risotto with a portion of smoked salmon, a light drizzle of a lemon-infused olive oil and freshly-ground black pepper.
For home-cooked warmth that has elegant grandeur try rich, roasted-butternut-puree-flavoured risotto, hand-crumbled gorgonzola and hot-roasted pine kernels.
Little beats a winter treat of basic risotto finished off with left-over, shredded oxtail, lamb shank or even curry. This makes a hearty meal. Add red wine and a blazing fire!
For something unusual try a corn-and-coconut-milk combination topped with Parma ham or crispy bacon. Add a few pieces of sushi ginger to enhance the freshness.
Chunky mushroom risotto can be served to complement main courses, such as crispy sage-seared chicken breast; oven-roasted fillet; or have it just on its own for a vegetarian delight.
I know my pots will be filled with risotto this winter. Made once there is no turning back... enjoy the cold months.
Take these recipes and try them.
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Assisted by Elaine Boshoff and Zinthle Majola for recipe development.