1 onion or 2 leeks (whites and light green), finely chopped
2 handfuls of a seasonal veg*
200g risotto rice
A wine glass of white wine or cider (optional – it just adds heaps of flavour)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ltr stock (chicken or veg for a classic risotto), simmering
A good grating or dollop of cheese or butter, to taste
Fresh herbs, toasted nuts and/or a grated hard cheese to finish
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Gently cook till glossy and tender.
Add the rice. Let it crackle and pop for a few mins. Splash in the wine and let the rice guzzle it up.
Add a good grinding of pepper. Cook for a minute or two before adding your first ladle of stock.
Set a timer for 20 minutes. Lower heat to a simmer. Feed the stock to the rice little by little till the timer goes off.
If you’re using softer or roasted veg, swirl it in about 5-10 mins before the timer goes off.
Fold in the cheese or butter. Taste. Adjust seasoning. Add a tiny bit more stock, if needed. You want your risotto to have a nice creamy texture and not be too thick.
Pile on to plates and finish with a glug of oil fresh herbs, Parmesan or toasted nuts.
Mushrooms and Bermondsey Hard Press
As your base risotto cooks, thinly slice your mushrooms and fry in a separate pan, in a little oil or butter, until most of the moisture is gone from them and they start to colour up. Swirl in a finely chopped clove of garlic. Cook a little more. Season well. Take off the heat and fold in a good hand of herbs (tarragon or chives work nicely). Fold through the risotto right at the end, just before you add the cheese. Once plated up, finish each mound of risotto with fresh herbs and chopped walnuts.
Asparagus or Purple Broccoli and Perl Wen
While your base risotto is underway, thinly slice asparagus or roughly chop your purple broccoli. Get a frying pan hot and place your veg in the pan. Cook for a few minutes before adding a little oil or butter. Cook until just tender and bright green. Season. Set aside. Swirl through risotto right at the end, before adding a big lump of Perl Wen (rind removed). Finish with fresh herbs and toasted almonds.
Pretty much any veg can be used in a risotto and you can just make the base above, adding the cheese of your choice – a soft crumbly cheese, a hard grated cheese or a melting creamy cheese. A large handful of fresh herbs added right before serving makes all the difference. If you’re using firmer root veg in your risotto, finely dice it and roast in the oven while your base risotto cooks, or add it in with the onion to soften and cook through with your risotto.