Risotto is sometimes conceived a difficult thing to make: a dish which you must observe anxiously and resolutely throughout the course of its cooking, to which you must add precise quantities of liquids, and for which timing is crucial. It is not easy to make anything perfectly; however, I think it is actually fairly easy to make risotto pretty well. In my experience, you do not need to stand over it dictatorially, stirring all the while as it cooks; you can throw in liquid any old how; and whilst it is at its best al dente, with a little bite, it is still tasty if you overcook it a little, and you need feel no irredeemable shame if you do overcook it, and ought not to take this overcooked risotto towards your mouth with a grimace, and observe your diners eating it with a sorrowful frown.
Are carrots and peas good things to put in a risotto? I believe they are a classic combination. Will you like them in a risotto? Let us see!
- 150g – 200g risotto rice
- 1 very large onion, or 2 smaller onions
- 1 large and thick carrot
- 75g – 100g peas
- A glass of white or rosé wine
- 500 ml, approximately, of vegetable stock
- 60g chorizo
- Parmesan cheese
Notes pertaining to these ingredients
When I cook rice, I tend to err on the side of much: for this recipe, to serve two people, I’d probably use about 200g of rice, but you may be more than content with less. There are several varieties of risotto rice, and all would suit. I tend to use Arborio rice; alternatively, you may find at your local market or supermarket an otherwise unspecified parcel or package stating simply ‘Risotto Rice’. Red wine would be too much for the vegetables, so white or rosé works best. Vegetable or chicken stock is good; but if you just add water to cook the risotto, it will be okay, and the risotto will still possess a flavour which makes it worth eating. Parmesan cheese or an appropriate substitute, Grana Padano for example, is for grating and adding to the risotto sometime around the end of the cooking process. If you want a higher class of risotto dish, then perhaps you may refer to your parmesan cheese as Parmigiano-Reggiano, and to your peas as petits pois, whether they are or are not. In this way you juxtapose the Italian with the French for an authentically continental meal.
- Dice or slice the onion(s), and sauté in a pan with some olive oil or butter
- Peel, then dice or slice the carrot and add to the pan
- Add the risotto rice, and stir so it becomes covered in the oil or butter. Allow the rice to cook for a couple of minutes on a high heat, to ‘toast’, which really means to become translucent or take a little colour
- Throw in the glass of wine, and reduce
- Add the first third of the stock, and reduce to a medium-high heat. When this first third of stock is absorbed by the rice, add the second third. Allow this to absorb, and add as much of the third third as you think you require to adequately cook the rice
- While the rice is cooking away, slice the chorizo and fry in a separate pan
- Add the peas to the risotto within the last few minutes of cooking
- With the rice cooked, season with salt, pepper and thyme. You can add a knob of butter or a little cream at this point if you wish
- Grate the cheese and either add to the pan and stir in, or use to sprinkle, lightly or heavy-handedly, over the risotto once apportioned to your plate
- Serve the risotto and the chorizo in conjunction, perhaps with bread
Again, the desired result is a risotto with a little bite to it. You may not need all of the liquid, you may feel you need more: take 500 ml as a broad approximation of how much liquid to add. Don’t have the heat so high while the risotto is cooking that the liquid absorbs quickly and the risotto starts to stick to the bottom of a dry pan; but provided the heat isn’t too high, you ought to stir the risotto a little, but not incessantly. It should take twenty-to-thirty minutes to cook. Thyme works well with the other ingredients here, but spice according to your innermost desire.