A lot of people are scared of cooking risotto, as it has a reputation of being a difficult dish. Personally, I think that as long as you add the stock slowly and keep testing the rice so it doesn’t overcook, you can’t really get it wrong.
Risotto is supposed to be made with only minimal ingredients, so that is is just rice with one or two extra flavours. My version has quite a lot of ingredients and textures, and for this reason I decided not to add extra vegies. However, you can add any kind of robust vegies you like, like peas, zucchini or pumpkin, or sprinkle roasted tomato on top.
This is a versatile recipe, and you can really use any type of meat or seafood you like, or any vegetable that would hold up to the stirring. You can keep it really simple and focus on the rice, or you can add lots of different ingredients until its more like a paella. Really, its up to you. If you leave out the meat and vegies altogether, a plain risotto is a lovely side to a piece of grilled salmon. Yum!
- 1 cup aborio rice
- Approximately 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 chorizo sausage
- Aprox 1 slice of prosciutto per person
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 fresh chilli (optional)
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- Aprox 1 teaspoon store bought pesto per person (optional)
- Aprox 1 ½ cups grated cheese (I use a mix of low fat cheddar and parmesan)
- Cracked pepper to taste
- Heat stock in a saucepan, keep it hot but not boiling.
- Gently fry rice with chilli and garlic for about 1 minute. Use a little oil if you don’t have a non-stick frypan.
- Place rice in a paella pan (a Dutch oven, frypan or saucepan would all work) over medium heat with 1 cup of stock.
- Allow the rice to absorb the stock, stirring occasionally. When the stock is absorbed, keep adding ½ cup at a time, and allowing it to absorb, stirring occasionally. Repeat until the rice is cooked. You may need more than 3 cups of stock, or you may need less.
- Meanwhile, tear the prosciutto into thin strips and fry until crispy. You shouldn’t need any additional oil as the meat is very fatty. When the prosciutto is crispy, remove it, and deglaze the pan with white wine. Add the wine to the pot of waiting stock.
- When the rice is almost cooked, add some extra stock, plus the chicken and chorizo. The meat should take a few minutes to cook through, but you need to give the rice enough time to heat fully, in order to kill any bacteria on the chicken. (You may want to increase the temperature briefly to ensure the bacteria is killed.)
- When the meat is cooked, add the cheese and parsley to the rice and stir through until the cheese has melted.
- Serve the risotto in flat bowls. Top each bowl with cracked pepper, a dollop of pesto and a few pieces of prosciutto.
- Risotto is traditionally made with parmesan. I find substituting half the parmesan with cheddar adds a bit of creaminess, and cuts down the saltiness.
- If you are worried about bacteria on the meat, feel free to cook your meat in advance and add it when the rice is cooked.
- Some people prefer risotto to be dry, some prefer it wet. Simply add extra stock if you feel it is too dry.
- Stirring risotto breaks down the starches in the rice, and is what gives the risotto the thick creamy texture. However, too much stirring will create a gluggy dish. So, stir every few minutes, or when it is sticking – there is no need to stir constantly.
* Please note that all quantities are approximate, and you should adjust amounts according to your tastes.