I made a real error today by deciding to cook risotto. Arabella and I had enjoyed a very busy fun weekend with friends and so Sunday was dedicated to homework, reading, piano and flute practise, supermarket shopping, washing etc etc. Arabella also wanted to do some baking. Therefore with so much going on, spending an hour cooking lunch wasn't the best idea however it was worth it.
Ingredients for 4 people:
3 red peppers
1 litre vegetable stock (I only had beef which seemed to work)
1 onion. finely chopped
350g risotto rice (Carnaroli or Arborio)
300g goat's cheese (or you could use Camembert)
5 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
First things first, preheat the grill.
Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds, stalk and inner membrane. Drizzle oil over the peppers and sprinkle with salt. Then place them in a roasting tin, cut side down and grill for about 10 minutes until the skins are blackened and blistered. I probably should have done mine for a bit longer!!
Transfer the pepper halves to a bowl using tongs and cover with cling film - this will apparently help the skins to steam off. Leave to cool completely, then peel away the skins and discard. This wasn't as easy as it sounds and I only ended up peeling only half the skin off….not that it mattered.
Roughly chop the peppers and place in a food processor. Mix with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, season and blend to make a smooth puree. Set aside until later.
Heat the stock in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. (I used beef rather than vegetable stock).
Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a heavy based pan and then cook the onion for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute until the oil has been absorbed and the rice grains are translucent.
Now for the time consuming part! Add a ladle of simmering stock to the pan of rice and onion and stir continuously until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding ladlefuls of the stock, stirring all the time, and making sure that the previous addition has been almost absorbed before adding the next. Repeat this until you use up all the stock.
Preheat the grill again for the cheese.
After about 18 minutes, when the rice is nearly cooked and the stock is used up, stir in the red pepper puree and cook for a few more minutes, still stirring. Season generously.
Meanwhile cut the goat's cheese into slices, season with black pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place under the grill for a couple of minutes until bubbling.
Finally divide the risotto between four bowls and top with the melting cheese.
Even though this took a while to make and needs constant attention, it was worth the effort and it even got the thumbs up from Arabella. Although not surprising as she loves anything with goat's cheese and this was particularly good as we stirred all the melted cheese in with the rice. Camembert or brie would work just as well. Great flavours!
This is a recipe from Ainsley Harriot's "Just Five Ingredients" recipe book….every recipe requires 5 ingredients other than the usual store cupboard accompaniments like oil. I love it as I hate having to buy random ingredients never to be used again so expect to see some other supper ideas from this book!!!