Quick and Easy: Risotto

Risotto.

Ask the general public what a typical student diet consists of and your invariable answers will range from beans on toast to instant noodles. Yet there is no need to conform to this degrading stereotype! If we can deal with nights out until 3am followed by a 9am lecture, negotiating the oven and hob should be no difficulty whatsoever.

I’ll be regularly sharing my recipes with The Bubble to prove that you can make your own nutritious, reasonably priced and, most importantly, tasty food without too much effort. I’ll try to provide a mixture of quick, simple recipes and more impressive dishes, as well as a variety of sweet treats. Each recipe will include a few handy tips on how to cut costs, what to do with leftovers and variations on the dishes. If you have any questions (or suggestions for improvement – I’m not claiming to be Nigella Lawson here!), please feel free to comment below.

My first recipe is a risotto. It’s a common myth that risottos are really difficult and time-consuming, but basically all you have to do is stir! Especially if your flatmates are around or the radio is on, it can be rather relaxing after a long day of lectures. Rice is only about £1.10 for 250g, which makes 4 servings (less than 30p per serving!) Likewise, fresh parmesan isn’t the cheapest ingredient, but it makes the risotto so creamy. It lasts for weeks in the fridge and goes great with any pasta or salad. Grana Padano is a slightly cheaper alternative or you may be able to buy parmesan from the cheese counter, in which case you can get a smaller quantity.

The best thing about risotto is that you can add pretty much anything you like. This recipe is a basic risotto recipe, and I’ll then give you a few suggestions of what can be added. On the whole, anything goes, but my favourite combination is bacon, mushroom, onion and courgette. The saltiness of the bacon works so well with the vegetables.

Basic Risotto Recipe – serves 2

  • ½ pint stock (I use a stock cube)
  • Knob of butter
  • 125g risotto rice
  • Small glass white wine
  • 40g parmesan cheese
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and pepper

Optional:

  • Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Chorizo Sausage
  • Onion
  • Mushroom
  • Peppers
  • Courgette
  • Frozen peas (add about 5 mins before the end of cooking)
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus

Method

1. Heat the stock and keep warm on the hob.

2. Chop and fry any optional ingredients in butter or oil.

3. Add the rice and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.

4. Add the wine, then, once absorbed, a ladleful of stock.

5. Turn the heat down and keep adding ladlefuls of stock once the previous one has been absorbed by the rice. Keep stirring regularly – this will ensure the risotto is really creamy!

6. Continue this process for about 20–25 minutes, until the rice is soft but retains ‘bite’. You may not use all of the stock, or you may have to add some more hot water to make it go further.

7. Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste, Add the knob of butter and the parmesan, stir and then cover.

8. Leave to sit for 2 minutes and then serve.

The risotto alone is a delicious filling meal, but also goes well with garlic bread, a leafy salad or green vegetables. Enjoy!

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