Saturday, 15 January 2011

Risotto with bacon, pea, mushroom, courgette and tomato

My signature dish. As part of my degree studies I spent a year living in Berlin working as an English language assistant in a primary school in the former East. Most of the time I was on a very tight budget dividing my money between rent, travel, socialising and flights home. I chose to live on a very basic, cheap diet and most nights made risotto or spaghetti. The end result always seems so much more luxurious than you'd expect so its a great dish for little cash.


250g Arborio risotto rice (enough for 2 people)
1 x onion and 1 x clove garlic
1 x jug vegetable stock
1 x pack bacon
1 x pack mushrooms
1 x courgette
1 x pack vine cherry tomatoes
1 x handful frozen peas

The other ingredients you need are time and patience so its a nice meal to make for a Saturday night.

After heating a large saucepan with olive oil, add garlic and onion and stir while it softens. Add salt and pepper. At this point you can add some white wine or dry vermouth if desired. Next add the risotto rice and cover with the stock. This is where the the time and patience comes in as you need to keep stirring the rice while it absorbs the stock and keep repeating the process. Put the grill on to cook the bacon. Then after about twenty minutes of stock-and-stir add your veg saving a few chopped tomatoes for the end. Keep adding stock and stir the rice and veg all together. Keep and eye on the bacon whilst it's cooking. After about 35 minutes taste the rice and check it is soft and not too chalky. Add a slice of butter, stir in and take off the heat and add the saucepan lid. Leave for about 5 minutes. The butter will give the risotto it's thicker consistency. Taste and if happy whack it up to a higher heat then serve with a nice bistro salad splashed with balsamic. Mmmm.

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