This week I felt, very briefly, a breath of spring in the air. So I decided for this Meatless Monday, I’d do a slightly lighter, sunnier meal. Never fear, it’s still hot, it’s still just as filling, but it just feels slightly less like one of those stodgy stews and heavy meals we’ve been living off for the past few months.
Risotto is one of those dishes which everyone always seems impressed that you make, because they think of Italian chefs and the intricacies of getting the rice just perfect. But honestly, it really doesn’t take much. Add wine, in liberal quantities, and everything will be just fine. Trust me.
In this recipe, you can add chicken stock if you just can’t handle a meal without meat, but to be honest, it is perfectly delicious with vegetable stock. Especially if you’ve made it yourself (Instead of throwing away all the peelings you take off veg, keep them, boil them up with some onion, garlic, lots of herbs and seasoning and water, let it simmer for a good hour or two until the liquid has reduced considerably and everything is looking a bit mushy, and then sieve. Voila, your very own stock.)
The other great thing about this is it is endlessly adaptable. You can do pea and fresh mint; courgette and bacon (for non-veggie days); or just about any green vegetable you can root out. I used peas, leeks as they’re in season, and some leftover mushrooms in mine, but this is the basic recipe. It serves 2 easily, or alternatively one and heat up the leftovers tomorrow.
4 spring onions
2 garlic cloves
Unspecified amount of white wine, min 1 glass
750ml vegetable or chicken stock
Grated Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
1. Chop spring onions and leeks finely, crush garlic and put in large deep pan with some oil. Fry gently for 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Pour in the rice, stir it around a bit, then pour in a glass-full of wine. You can always add more later. Allow the rice to soak up most of the wine.
3. Pour in about 100-200ml stock, and again, wait for it to reduce down. Repeat, with stock or wine, depending on how liberal you are feeling with the wine, until the rice is cooked to however you like it. Al dente or soggy as baby food, it’s your decision. Never mind what the Italians say.
4. Sprinkle with parmesan, and eat immediately with more wine. And voila, a great vegetarian meal, once again.