Take time to master cooking risotto
Once conquered it opens up a world of possibilities for delicious meals
Risotto . . . a dish that seems to be feared by many a home cook. Fear no more! With a little care and attention, this versatile, healthy and delicious dish can become a household regular.
At one of my low points on Masterchef, my cooking partner Jaimie and I tossed an earring to see who would leave the kitchen and who would cook. I won ‘the left box’, and unfortunately ended up with the desert, while Jaimie had to cook the risotto. Coincidentally, Karena Bird (MasterChef winner) and I had watched a one hour cooking show the night before which specialised in Risotto!
Risotto is an Italian specialty, stemming back to the 11th Century when rice arrived in from the Far East. Once you master the basic risotto technique, as per below, the possible variations are endless. There are a wide variety of twists and flavours you can add into your risotto, so much so that you could eat a different flavour every night of the year! It is so versatile that you can pretty much open your fridge and throw in what’s there.
I have added an Asian slant to this usual western dish, where a lot of the flavour comes from the fragrant broth you see below. If you prefer a vegetarian option, remove the prawns and add in bok choy, spinach or tofu for example.
Prepare a healthy, affordable and delicious meal, which the entire family will enjoy!
Ingredients Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime broth
3 lemongrass stalks bruised 4 Kaffir Lime leaves 1 thumb of galangal peeled (or ginger) 2 cloves garlic bruised 1.3L of Simon Gault Vege stock (or chicken stock if not a vegetarian)
125 ml white wine 1 onion finely chopped 1 cup of arborio rice 3 Tbsp butter 100g frozen baby peas 1.3L of above broth 150g prawns deveined and fully shelled 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice 1 large handful of coriander chopped 4 spring onions chopped
100g prawns devein and tails on 1 Tbsp olive oil
dried chili, seeds out and finely sliced 1 clove garlic finely diced
1 small handful of chopped coriander 1 dried chili finely sliced with seeds out
1. Peel the outer layer off the lemongrass stalks and bash the fat ends with end of a knife to bruise. 2. Peel and bruise ginger and garlic, and place all broth ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a rolling simmer for 15-20 mins. Keep this stock hot throughout the risotto cooking process. 3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a pan and add onion and garlic until the onion turns transparent and softens, usually about 3-4 mins. Do not brown. 4. Add in the arborio rice and stir until thoroughly coated, then add in the wine and stir until it is absorbed. 5. Next you need to ladle in one ladle of the hot broth at a time, constantly stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Do not add another ladle of broth until the previous is fully absorbed. Repeat the process until just before the rice becomes aldente (slightly firm to the bite). 6. Once you have nearly reached the desired texture for the rice (this usually takes 20-25 mins) add in the peas and 150g of deshelled prawns and cook until prawns become coloured, usually 2-3 mins. If the risotto is looking too dry add in a little more broth. 7. Next heat the olive oil until hot and sear the prawns, and dried chili, this takes about 1 min each side. Put in garlic once one side is cooked or else it may burn. Be careful not to over cook. 8. Now stir through the spring onions and a large handful of coriander into the risotto, add in lime juice and season to taste with salt. 9. Serve the risotto in a flat wide rimmed bowl and garnish with the seared prawns, coriander and dried chili. Serves 2-3
Endless varieties: Lemongrass Risotto with Chilli Prawns