Posts tagged risotto
Risottos are one of my mid-week “go to” meals. They are simple, fairly quick, and only use one pan. They are also pretty healthy when you cook them this way…
Ok so I admit this is probably not a proper risotto – there is no cream, no butter, not even any crème fraiche. In fact I don’t even use proper risotto rice. It’s more like a one-pot-rice-dish that I call a risotto because that’s what it started out as when I learnt how to make them years ago – this is the result.
Here’s my recipe for two people using left over slow cooked gammon.
- Couple of handfuls of left over gammon. Mine had been slow cooked but it really doesn’t matter. Cut or rip into small chunks.
- Bunch of spring onions, a couple of peppers (I used one red and one yellow – a colourful meal is a healthy meal), some button mushrooms and a handful of frozen peas. Chop your peppers and spring onions into bite sized pieces, you may also wish to cut your mushrooms in half depending on the size.
- Rice – I use Basmati as it’s brown rice and therefore slightly healthier. Use 50-60g per person.
- Stock – I use chicken stock when cooking with gammon, it gives the rice a nice mellow flavour. You’ll need 500-600ml.
- Ground black pepper and minced garlic (I love that cheating garlic that comes in a little jar, it’s so convenient).
Rinse the rice. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan. Add some pepper and garlic and fry the rice in it for a couple of minutes until it’s gone translucent.
Add a small amount of the stock and allow to simmer. Once the rice has absorbed that add some more, stirring regularly. Repeat this until the rice is almost cooked – you may not need all the stock. Adding a little at a time means you will not end up with too much liquid in the pan.
At this point add your vegetables and stir through until well mixed. I add these sorts of vegetables close to the end as they really only need warming up, not cooking through (keeps texture and makes the meal nice and fresh). You will find you end up with more liquid thanks to the peppers and peas, which should be enough to finish cooking the rice. If not, add a little more stock or water until the rice is fluffy. You may wish to add another helping of black pepper.
That’s it – serve up in bowls and eat with a spoon!
I’ve no idea on calories but working out what’s in it I reckon a portion comes in at about 10 Weight Watchers Pro Points (I am a Weight Watchers Blog Ambassdor remember!), made up mainly of the rice, so not bad at all for an evening meal, and very filling. You can of course use whatever you have leftover, it’s a great dish to use up what’s in the fridge – chicken or prawns taste good – and it’ll happily accept frozen vegetables if you’ve not got anything fresh in.
If you want a recipe for a “proper” risotto made with the right sort of rice and featuring some lovely goats cheese, see my Chicken and Goats Cheese Risotto recipe.
I have often posted on Splodz Blogz about how mid week meals need to be quick and easy. I’ve mentioned that I will often resort to jars of sauce or packet mixes to make things quick, although I do love to cook things from scratch and find that very satisfying.
Gousto is a fairly new food delivery service that I tried out earlier in December. They do all the leg work for you – create lovely recipes and provide all the ingredients in a mail order delivery for you to cook them in your own home. I tried a box with two recipes for two.
The process started by having a look at some recipes that they had emailed and choosing two. That was difficult in itself, I could have easily chosen any of them. There were different kinds of meat, fish and a number of vegetarian options. The recipes are given difficulty ratings of easy, medium and hard, which helps in the decision making process (!), and you can see if any specific kitchen equipment is needed too. The vegetables used were those in season. In the end I chose a Wild Boar Ragu with Linguine and a Creamy Leek and Beetroot Risotto.
The deliveries are once a week, and for me that was to be a Wednesday (it is either a Tuesday or a Wednesday depending on where you live, you can put your postcode into the site to check they deliver). I work during the day but Gousto arrange for your food parcel, which is packaged well enough to be left outside, to be placed where ever you ask – so I had mine sat by my back door for when I got home. Opening it up everything was inside wool insulation to keep it fresh and protected, with the fridge items being inside ice packs too that were totally frozen by the time I got the bits and bobs into my fridge; everything was definitely still fresh.
Inside the box my ingredients were all portioned out ready – things like herbs and nuts and rice were in bags with exactly the right amount for your recipe – there’s no weighing or measuring needed when you start preparing your meals, which is a real time saver. The two recipe cards included a nice description of the food they instructed how to cook, and give simple and easy to follow step by step bullet points to make sure you end up with something that looks just like the photograph. Oh and it gives you the calories/fat/protein numbers too so you know.
Let me take the two recipes I chose in turn…
Wild Boar Ragu with Linguine
This Italian dish combines smoky and intense wild boar with earthy garlic, leek and onion flavours, along with chilli for a warming kick. The wild boar salami is supplied by a small Italian supplier who guarantees high standards, something which is a theme for all the ingredients – good quality and high standards.
The meal was really simple to make (I’ve actually never made a ragu before). The instructions were honestly so easy to follow and I understood everything, and we ended up with a absolutely fantastic dinner. The wild boar sausage meet was really good, so tasty, and the whole dish was full of flavour. I went easy on the crushed chilli but added more to LincsGeek’s portion (you add them right at the end so this is easy to do) but I could have happily had more in mine after all. Thankfully, because the recipe card also included all the quantities, I can keep this one and do it again – although next time I will have to measure out all my ingredients myself rather than just relying on Gousto to do it for me!
Creamy Leek and Beetroot Risotto
Well what can I say? It’s pink. So very pink. More pink than I think I’ve seen anything that’s not a desert before. Wow. Oh and grating beetroot is messy!!
To be fair, despite the pinkness and the messy worktop, what I was able to serve up when we had this dish was absolutely gorgeous. It was creamy from the creme fraiche, nutty from the walnuts, oniony from the leeks, and the beetroot gave it a sweet taste too. Oh and I mustn’t forget that you add parmesan and oregano at the end which make this even more full of flavour.
We’re not used to such rich risottos though – I make them regularly but always without butter or cream or cheese, keeping them fresh and healthy, more like one-pot-rice-dishes really. As a result we both found there to be way too much food this time (we found the Wild Boar recipe just right). I would say the quantity I had would have easily served four as a starter, or if you added some grilled fish (which would go with it really nicely) main meals for four.
Splodz Blogz Verdict
I was really impressed with Gousto. The recipes to choose from sounded lovely and whetted my appetite – I really looked forward to my delivery. The ingredients arrived fresh and lasted a good few days in my fridge, and it was all portioned up to make preparing my meals a doddle. The recipe instructions were very easy to follow (although the images were small and a little pixellated, that could definitely be an improvement) and I ended up with two lovely meals that I wouldn’t have tried if it wasn’t for Gousto.
Would I buy Gousto for myself? Yes I would, but not regularly. Every now and again I would like to have a Gousto delivery, and I would happily pay £42 for the couples bag (three meals for two people) as a treat. The site does seem to encourage a weekly delivery but it does say you can start and stop at any time so one offs are possible. £42 might sound like a lot, and you can definitely eat cheaper, but I liken this to eating out but in the comfort of my own home… I certainly couldn’t eat three meals out for that price and the food I tried doing this review was excellent quality and I had a massive feeling of satisfaction cooking these meals myself.
I am a BzzAgent and this is a Bzz Review…
I was recently invited to take part in a new Bzz campaign for Knorr Stock Pots – I was sent a selection of the Stock Pots to try at home along with some vouchers to share with friends.
Like many people, I don’t have time to faff about making my own stock, I rely on instant stocks – my choice is generally Oxo stock cubes and I keep a selection of flavours in the cupboard. They are an every day item and get used in risottos, curries, soups, casseroles and stews, and many other dishes. Stick the kettle on, break up the cube, pour over boiling water and stir. Easy peasy.
Knorr Stock Pots are little pots of concentrated jelly that dissolves when you add boiling water or melt when you put it in a warm pan. One thing I noticed was when dissolving them to make a stock they were so much easier to mix than a stock cube. They’re also very easy to use directly in the pan, such as melting in with some coconut milk, where as I would always make stock from a cube in a jug away from the pan as they take quite a bit of stirring.
Over the last few weeks I have used the Vegetable, Beef and Chicken Stock Pots I was sent in a variety of dishes. Just the usual sorts of things, nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, just normal mid-week dinners.
Apart from finding them easy to use, I am also impressed with the flavour. In a risotto I would normally add an additional cube to the water to bump up the flavour a bit, but found there was no need with these. The recommended ratio of Stock Pot to water was ideal, and flavoured the rice really well. I didn’t find them salty (I stopped using supermarket own-brand stock cubes due to the incredible amount of salt I could taste), which was pleasing.
Am I sold? Yes I do believe I am. I have already started buying Knorr Stock Pots instead of the Oxo cubes I have always bought before now. They are a little more expensive but money well spent as far as I am concerned. I am pleased I was a part of this Bzz campaign because I have genuinely found an every day product I prefer to my usual. So my Splodz Blogz verdict is definitely try them.
Firsts – This evening I am cooking with a Knorr Stock Pot (a vegetable one) for the first time. Using it to make the stock for our risotto.
(I should add I’m trying out Knorr Stock Pots as a Bzz Agent – #KnorrStockPots #gotitfree http://u.bzz.com/3yemt )
I was introduced to the idea of Spelt and Speltotto thanks to my recent Flavr Box review. I decided this new-to-me-food was worth a post all of its own because everyone else I’ve spoken to about it hadn’t heard of it either.
Spelt is a gluten-grain with a rich nutty flavor that can be used in place of wheat in most baking recipes, including bread and pizza crusts. The people at Sharpham Park use it in pearl form to give us a meal accompaniment that can be used instead of rice, pasta, couscous or lentils.
High in protein content, which is essential for body maintenance and muscle growth, it also contains all eight essential amino acids. With its low GI, it produces only small fluctuations in our blood sugar levels, and therefore can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It is a key to long term health and assists sustainable weight loss as you feel fuller for longer. It also contains carbohydrates and is a good source of fibre, is easily digested due to the high water solubility. Oh, and it tastes good too!
Sounds good doesn’t it?!
“Speltotto” is a term coined by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall when he created a risotto like dish using Sharpham Park pearled spelt. These boxes are meals in themselves, containing pearled spelt and dried vegetables and herbs. I tried two versions – the sundried tomato and chilli and the courgette, garlic and thyme. Both looked something like the above photo, all dry but fairly colourful. A box will serve two for a main meal or four as an accompaniment and the shelf life is nice and long.
They are so simple to prepare. Actually “prepare” is a bad choice of word because you undo the packet, pour it into a pan, and add cold water. You don’t even need to boil the kettle! You then bring it to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes, add a knob of butter, and serve. So easy, and at 20-25 minutes cooking time it makes a very easy mid-week meal.
The spelt really soaks up the water over the cooking time and fluffs up into something that really does resemble risotto. The addition of butter right at the end before serving brings out the flavours and adds a creaminess to the dish – you could substitute olive oil for a healthier alternative but it’s not very much butter and you can’t beat that flavour really.
As for the taste, well, I was really impressed. Both versions we tried were full of flavour. I think we probably have portion control issues though as we weren’t full after eating the courgette one so when I did the tomato and chilli one I also did a garlic baguette to go with it. The chilli one did have a kick which was really pleasant and of the two I think that was our favourite.
Just look what was delivered a few days ago…
…yes, that’s a large wicker hamper – and it was heavy…
…it was full of lovely ingredients for the fridge and store cupboard. Wow.
This was all because I had a conversation with a goat. I didn’t even know goats could type. I mean, I know horses and rabbits can use smart phones to tweet their thoughts, but I hadn’t realised goats could too. Ethel (@EthelTheGoat) is goat-persona of Capricorn Somerset Goats Cheese, and I am taking part in her blogger recipe challenge. I can’t resist a challenge.
Ethel sent me this wonderful hamper full of some of her favourite ingredients, many from Somerset, and challenged me to come up with some delicious recipes. I’m no chef, I don’t pretend to be even a good cook, but this hamper full of gorgeous food did give me some ideas. Here we have pasta, rice, pizza bases, pastry, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cider, chutney, tomatoes, beetroot, peppers, pears, nuts, seeds, onion, thyme, and of course goats cheese.
The idea is that I come up with a recipe (or two, or three) using the cheese and other things from this hamper, post it here on Splodz Blogz, and let Ethel know. She’ll also give the recipe a go (well, she’ll ask the farmer’s wife to cook it up for her), and let me know what she thinks. So here goes… my first recipe idea:
Splodz’s Chicken and Goats Cheese Risotto
Risotto is a nice easy mid-week meal for us at home. I cook them quite regularly, usually choosing between chicken and prawns as the main ingredient, and adding veges either fresh or from the freezer. They take 20-30 minutes from boiling the kettle and making the stock to plating up, and are pretty healthy when you don’t bother with butter. There was a box of organic Arborio rice in the hamper and I was drawn to that straight away – it is well within my comfort zone and while I don’t create restaurant quality rice dishes, I am fairly confident I know what I’m doing with it.
This recipe will feed two but is easily doubled or tripled if you have guests (or are very hungry!).
- Glug of nice olive oil
- Red onion, sliced
- A couple of chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
- Knob of butter
- 160g Arborio (risotto) rice, rinsed
- 500ml stock – I used a combination of chicken and vegetable
- Good handful of frozen peas
- A third of one Capricorn Somerset Goats Cheese, sliced
- Heat the oil in a non stick pan, fry the onion until soft, add the chicken and cook.
- Melt a knob of butter in the same pan, add the rice and fry for about 30 seconds before adding a good 100ml or so of the stock, stir through and bring to a simmer.
- Add the peas, thyme and the rest of the stock and simmer.
- Stir regularly but not constantly until the rice is cooked (about 12-15 minutes or so) and the stock has reduced but the pan isn’t dry.
- Add the slices of goats cheese and stir through – allow some to melt into the risotto but leave a few lumps for texture and flavour.
This recipe got the thumbs up in our house and was gone in not many minutes. We both agreed it was one of my best risottos yet. This recipe would make a good risotto even without the cheese but adding it gives a lovely smooth creamy texture and a rich cheesy flavour that is not over powering. Capricorn Goats Cheese is fairly strong tasting, I found, although it is considered a mild goats cheese – you could add more if you prefer a cheesier dish but I struck it lucky with the amount I added.
I will definitely be doing this one again. Let me know if you try it.