Risotto Primavera

Master risotto making and I don’t think you’ll ever go hungry again. I’ve had barer than bare cupboards before and managed to make a dinner thanks to risotto! It’s cheap, filling, versatile, comforting and bloomin’ delicious!

Primavera means spring in Italian (as in the season… not a coil!). I like adding fried lardons to this springtime dish along with a healthy helping of two cheeses! The contrast of the bacon with all the vegetables tastes really good. AND you can easily just leave out the bacon if you have a veggie over for dinner. You see – versatile!

Risotto Primavera with Crispy Lardons and Gooey Goats’ Cheese
Serves 4

– 1.2 litres hot stock made with 2 tsps Bouillon vegetable stock powder
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 300g Arborio risotto rice
– 125ml white wine
– 100g asparagus tips
– 100g lardons (optional)
– 100g frozen peas
– 100g frozen broad beans
– Grated zest of ½ lemon
– 15g salted butter
– Pepper
– 30g finely grated Parmesan
– 4 x 1cm cut rounds of goats’ cheese
– Mint leaves

1. In a small saucepan heat 1.2 litres of water on a medium to high heat and add the stock.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in another larger saucepan on a medium to high heat. Fry the onion for 5-10 minutes until it is soft but not coloured. Add the risotto rice and mix for a minute so it gets coated in the olive oil and onions. Now add the white wine and let it bubble and evaporate off. Turn the heat down to medium.

3. Get a ladle and add the stock to the rice one ladleful at a time. The key thing to risotto is to only add another ladleful of stock when the last one has cooked off. So just keep repeating this!

4. When about ½ of your stock has gone, add the asparagus tips to the risotto so that they become tender. At the same time, throw the frozen veggies into a Pyrex dish or a bowl and cover them with hot water from the kettle to defrost them.

5. If you’re using bacon, now’s the time to put the other tablespoon of olive oil on a frying pan on a medium to high heat. When the oil is hot, add the lardons and fry them until they are nice and crispy.

6. When you’re down to your last ladleful of stock, drain off the frozen vegetables and add them too. When that last ladleful of stock has cooked down add the lemon zest, butter, a good grinding of black pepper and half of the Parmesan. Give it a good mix.

7. Drain the lardons on some kitchen towel before adding to the risotto. Dish out into bowls and top with the rest of the Parmesan cheese, a round of goats’ cheese and a couple of mint leaves. Risotto pronto!


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