Wednesday, 11 March 2015


Pascal has gone back to France and left me with an abundance of cheese and rather randomly a lot of basil so I searched though my recipe folder to see what I could cook. I found this recipe which I cut out of a magazine in April 2008 - it was definitely time to give it a go!!

Ingredients for 4 people:

1.2 litres of chicken or vegetable stock
25g butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
300g risotto rice
150ml white wine (I didn't have any wine so just used a little extra stock)
Salt and pepper

1 shallot, peeled and chopped (I forgot to buy this so used a garlic clove instead)
30g pine nuts
80ml olive oil
70g basil leaves
A squeeze of lemon

To finish:
A knob of butter
200g freshly grated Parmesan
150g goat's cheese

Preheat the oven to 190 C / 170 C fan / gas mark 5.

Bring the stock to the boil in a small saucepan.

Melt the butter in a large casserole dish / saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook gently for several minutes until softened, without colouring.

Add the rice and stir for about a minute.

Then add the wine (or in my case some of the stock) and simmer until almost absorbed.

Pour in the boiling stock and season. Next cover and cook in the oven for 25 minutes.

While this is cooking you can prepare the pesto. As I mentioned I forgot to buy a shallot so just used a garlic clove instead - I don't think it made too much difference.

In a food processor, place the shallot, pine nuts, olive oil, half the basil and some salt and pepper and whizz to a puree.

Then add the remaining basil and a squeeze of lemon and whizz again.

When the risotto is ready, take it out the oven and give it a stir.

Mine hadn't absorbed all the stock - I don't know why - I ended up putting it on the hob for a few minutes.

Then add a knob of butter and the Parmesan to the risotto and stir.

Spoon in pesto and stir.

Finally stir in half the goat's cheese and then serve with the remaining goat's cheese on top.

This was fabulous, great flavours - Arabella literally inhaled her bowl and announced it her new favourite. I think when I cook it again I will cook the risotto the traditional boring way of slowly spooning in the stock and stirring continuously rather than putting it in the oven as my rice was a little soft….I like it to have a bite to it. However I loved the combination of the goat's cheese and pesto and was very pleased with the dish. It was easy to make and tasted great. I can't believe I waited 7 years to cook it….the recipe is the same age as Arabella!!

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