The Lovely Drawer | Summer Risotto
I love risotto. Immediately after I first fell for this Italian staple, I heard how daunting it was to recreate at home. Even with all the tales of arms falling off from stirring and crunchy failures, I couldn't stop myself from trying to make some for myself. I needed to unlock this mystery so I could eat piles of eat without having to trek to a restaurant. I cringe at paying $15 for a plate of risotto when I know I could make it at home for so much less.
And the first time I made it? Perfect. And every time since then? Perfect, too. It really isn't difficult to make risotto, and this time of the year is the perfect time to stir up a batch. The dish is light, yet it's heartiness lends itself to the cool days of fall soon arriving. I love the refreshing combo of feta, mint & peas for a tangy summer palette.
So go on... add this dish to your weekly lineup. Think of Italy. Or that crazy blogger from London who is still in Texas. Or Teri's gorgeous pictures. Or whatever. Just give it a try. I have a feeling you'll like it.
MINT, PEA & FETA RISOTTO by The Lovely Drawer
I reckon risotto is one of the most flexible dishes that I cook. I've certainly had fun trying out every single flavour combination I can think of and reasonable sure guests have been happy to test each one out along the way. From collective feedback - mainly from my husband - this is my most popular risotto, so I had to share it. It's not tricky at all. It just takes time. Think of the stirring motion as a free arm workout, or as calming and therapeutic like I do.
SERVES 4 HUNGRY PEOPLE or 6 PEOPLE
1) Measure roughly 1 litre of boiling water in a jug and then add the stock cube. Stir and set to aside.
2) Fry the onion and garlic in a heavy bottomed pan. You can do this with a drizzle of oil or often a nob of butter makes for a richer taste. Then snip up the pancetta into squares and add to the frying pan along with the chilli flakes and seasoning.
3) When the onion and pancetta are cooked add the arborio rice, coating in the oils and sautee. The rice should begin to look transparent- that's a good sign. On a medium heat add the white wine and allow for the alcohol to cook off whilst stirring constantly.
4) When a lot of the moisture has been absorbed into the rice turn the heat down to low and add a ladle of the stock. You will need to keep repeating this every time its been absorbed. The idea is to keep the rice wet as it cooks but not over saturated. Keep on stirring, working the rice as this is what will help to make it extra creamy. The rice should never stick to the pan. Use as much of your stock as you like in this part, until you get it to the right texture.
5) Add some of your mint (chopped) to start to get that flavour coming through.
6) When the rice is softening and the risotto is starting to look creamy add the frozen peas and stir through continuously.
7) When the rice is very almost cooked through (give it a little taste), crumble in the feta and put a lid on the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and let it bubble for about 2 mins. Then take the lid off, stir through most of the parmesan and take off the heat.
8) Serve immediately with some chopped mint and parmesan on top. I often add a squeeze of lemon to each, too. Oh, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar added to any risotto tastes great in my opinion!
*all images original to Teri Muncey for Aspiring Kennedy