This is one of my favourite recipes, something I make SO often. If you’re not a fan of tomatoes and or capsicum, this risotto can have anything added to it, including meat (if you MUST ruin a perfectly good recipe with meat).
I often make this recipe using mushrooms instead of tomatoes and capsicum. The only difference in that scenario is to fry the mushrooms before starting the risotto then leave them aside and re-add them later in the process. But anything can be added at the right stage (which I’ll specify in the recipe).
I made this with a friend this time and he said “this risotto is delicious” (he told me to quote him!), but also, I made the mushroom version for him once and even though he doesn’t like mushrooms, he still loved it so it’s proof that if you make something well, if you add heaps of flavour to food, it can be yummy even if someone doesn’t like an ingredient in the recipe.
This recipe is originally from Jamie Oliver, it’s his Basic Risotto with a few added twists from me. I know you may be thinking “OMG, if Jamie Oliver is making this recipe, how the heck will I be able to cope with it?!”, But just read the recipe and try it, risotto may be something you eat at nice restaurants but it’s actually REALLY easy to make.
2-4 cups of vegetable stock (start with 2, if the rice isn’t cooked with that much, add more.)
Half an onion, diced (I always use half an onion but you are welcome to use a whole onion if you like onion)
2-5 cloves of garlic, crushed (Like Nurul, I love garlic, as a vegetarian it is THE most important ingredient you will ever use)
1 cup of Arborio rice (Any rice can be used but Arborio rice is specifically used for risotto so works better. Can be found in your local supermarket in the rice section).
2 glasses (or half a bottle) of white wine (I enjoy using Sav Blanc wine, usually a cheap one, at that but the professional chefs always say “don’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink yourself”, of course, I love drinking cheap wine so quite happy to use it in recipes!)
One red capsicum, diced
One can of tomatoes
A sprinkle of dried mixed herbs
Chilli (Something you know I use in every recipe, can be left out but great for flavour)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat the stock in a pot on low heat. Meanwhile in a frying pan or pot heat the olive oil, add the onions and garlic and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring.
When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.
Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt, the chilli and the herbs. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, make sure the last ladleful of stock is absorbed before adding the next in every step). This will take around 15 minutes.
After the wine has incorporated and you have added your first ladleful of stock and it has also incorporated into the rice, this is the step where you should add anything you need to add, whether that be fried mushrooms, capsicums, meat or whatever. However, don’t add the tomatoes just yet. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully.
Add another ladleful of stock. Wait for it to incorporate. Taste the rice to see if it’s soft yet. It shouldn’t be completely soft so add the can of tomatoes. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock until the rice is soft. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.
Once the rice is oozy and soft and 98% of the liquid is absorbed, your risotto is ready to be served. Do not, I repeat DO NOT serve if the rice is swimming in liquid, the liquid must be mostly absorbed.
This is how your final plate of risotto should look, it should be able to stand by itself without oozing all over the plate but a bit of ooze is all part of it. Here you can add some parmesan and enjoy!
I hope you find this recipe as easy as I do. If you have any questions though, please contact me through the blog and I’ll be happy to help. I want everyone to enjoy this recipe as much as I do and not be scared of it.