The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 11 September 2005


Yay! I had my first go at making risotto. It is really quite a simple dish to make from scratch.. Quite surprised at how much they cost at restaurants. I followed the basic risotto recipe using chopped onions, arborio rice and chicken stock. I then added chopped tomatoes, shredded chicken breast, peas and herbs (parsley, basil and chives). I would have added mushrooms if I had some in the fridge. Like fried rice, you can add anything you want to risotto. Most recipes add parmesan cheese or some cream of some sort, but I don't really have a taste for those two items. I used the recommended quantity of rice for 2 servings (1 cup of uncooked rice), but this batch lasted us 2 meals (i.e. 4 servings) - however, we did have additional dishes to accompany the risotto.

One thing to note about risotto is that you cannot stray far from the stove. It requires your attention for 20-30minutes while it's cooking otherwise it can be a recipe for disastrous results. As a general rule, make sure you have on hand at least 3 times the amount of stock as you do for the rice.

The basic risotto recipe:

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups (~400g) Arborio rice
6-8 cups of chicken stock, heated
salt and pepper to taste
herbs and other ingredients you'd like to use (eg white wine; chicken; veges like peas, mushrooms, leek; chopped tomato; parmesan cheese; cream)

In a wide-based pan, or shallow-sided large saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil on medium high heat. When the onion is cooked, add the rice and stir to coat. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice grains are translucent. If using alcohol, increase the heat and add it now and stir until liquid has evaporated. Add tomatoes, mushrooms etc and stir for a minute. Reduce heat to medium low and add one ladle of stock and stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Repeat this process – adding stock ladle by ladle and stirring continuously until three quarters of the stock has been used. It should take 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If using peas and cooked chicken, add them now and stir. Add the last of the stock (again, ladle by ladle and stirring continuously) and check the rice is cooked (al-dente with a little crunch in the middle). Remove from heat and stir in cheese, cream and herbs if desired. Serve while hot.

Next, I'm gonna try making paella (spanish rice dish). Can't be much more difficult than fried rice or risotto, right?

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