Risottos are a useful way of using up spare vegetables whilst at the same time feeding a family of housemates who are all craving winter comfort food. It is also fairly cheap, since you can get by with a few store cupboard essentials- rice, stock, herbs, even cheese. It’s your choice; strive for Italian authenticity in an effort to impress, or use it as a filler meal for when you’ve run out of inspiration and haven’t quite got around to a grocery shop…
Haddock and leek risotto (serves two)
2 haddock fillets (smoked is best)
a knob of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
a handful of chopped fresh parsley (or a dessert spoon of dried)
700ml liquid vegetable stock made with two stock cubes.
approx. 150g arborio or other short grain risotto rice
fresh parmesan to serve (or a sprinkling of dried)
approx. 30 mins
1. Top-and-tail the leeks. Cut them into 1cm sections and soak in cold water.
2. Skin and roughly chop the haddock.
3. Drain the leeks and fry in a large saucepan in the butter and oil until soft.
4. Add the rice. Stir so that it’s coated in the fat.
5. Add one-third of the stock and stir thoroughly. Leave until all of the liquid is absorbed, ensuring that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
6. Add the second third of the stock and stir thoroughly. Again, leave until
all of the liquid is absorbed, making
sure the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
7. Add the final third of the stock and the roughly chopped haddock. Stir carefully so that the haddock doesn’t flake into smaller pieces. Leave until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked. Stir occasionally.
8. Stir through a generous amount of parsley (you might want more than the handful suggested) and some grated parmesan and serve.
9. Grate or shave some extra parmesan on the top of each serving at the table, and season according to taste.
For a bit of variety you could add some quartered mushrooms at the same time as the leeks.
A chopped onion would also work if you’d like some extra flavour. Again, add at the same time as the leeks.
An interesting option is to add a tablespoon or more of mild curry powder and some slices of hard boiled egg- a cheat’s version of the Indian classic, kedgeree.
Fish not your thing? You can use chicken instead. Just dice some chicken breasts and fry the pieces at the same time as the leeks, onions or mushrooms. In this case you may wish to substitute the vegetable stock for chicken stock.
For a vegetarian option, omit the fish and add any vegetables you have in your cupboard.
If you don’t like parmesan, (or are vegetarian), replace it with another flavoursome hard cheese.
Cheap and nourishing!