With my New Year resolution to lead a wholesome life well and truly broken, I thought it was time I spent some time at the healthy end of the cooking spectrum. The warm weather is continuing to hang around in Sydney at the moment, and the last of the summer veggies are still plentiful and delicious.
If you are getting a bit sick of pasta, try risotto as an alternative. This is one of my favourite recipes, and can be easily adjusted to suit your tastes or what you have available in the cupboards and fridge. If you don’t like chilli, leave it out; if you’re coming down with a bug, pimp up the garlic; if you have some fresh tomatoes to use up, throw them in; if it is the middle of winter or you simply haven’t been shopping and tinned tomatoes or dried herbs are all you have access to, throw them in.
If capsicums are a good price at your green grocer, they are easy to roast; refer to one of my earlier posts for instructions on how to roast capsicums. If capsicums are out of season or too pricey, there are plenty of pre-prepared roast capsicums (sometimes labeled as roast peppers) you can buy from your deli counter or in a jar.
I prefer to use large mushrooms (called portobello mushrooms in the UK) rather than the small button mushrooms, as the large mushrooms have more flavour. If you want an extra rich risotto, you could add a little pesto or olive tapenade at the end of the cooking instead of, or as well as, the cheese.
I tend to eat this risotto with my favourite piece of cutlery, the splayd. A splayd is part fork, part spoon.
Summer Vegetable Risotto
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 shallot or 1/2 an onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small chillies
- 1/2 cup of arborio rice
- 250ml carton of V8 vegetable juice
- 1 large mushroom
- 1 zucchini
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
- 1 roast capsicum
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- hot water from the kettle
- 50g grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Finely chop the shallot.
- Finely chop or crush the garlic.
- Finely chop the chillies.
- Chop the mushroom into dice size pieces.
- Heat the pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil, the chopped shallot, garlic, chilli and rice.
- Turn the heat down to medium and cook until the rice is coated in oil and the onions are slightly softened.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until the mushrooms start to wilt.
- Add the vegetable juice to the fry pan and stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, grate the zucchini, chop the roast capsicum, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and pick the oregano leaves from the stem.
- Add a little hot water at a time to the fry pan and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is almost cooked. Taste to test the rice, it should be slightly too firm but almost ready.
- Add the zucchini, roast capsicum, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach and oregano to the fry pan, continue cooking until the vegetables wilt and the rice is cooked, then turn off the heat.
- Add the cheese and stir to combine.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Your risotto is ready to serve. Enjoy.
What is your favourite risotto recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?