I know, you probably think that risotto is hard or that it takes a long time. Neither is true. Risotto is just rice that you need to stir while you are doing other things. As long as you have good rice …bingo… easy perfect weeknight dinner
I’ve talked about rice for risotto before but, I’m going to take a minute to run through that again because it is not just about buying expensive rice, it’s about why. The rice you use to cook risotto is Arborio rice. That’s its type like Jasmine or Basmati or medium grained Calrose. Within those families are different grades and types. Arborio is a name for the general family of rice that is prized for it’s starchiness and there are different types within it’s family. The different Arborio’s are used for different dishes. There are a couple of grades of Arborio that are protected, and can only be grown in Italy the two main ones are called Carnaroli and Vialone Nano. Plain old Arborio rice is not necessarily for risotto. This rice is far more starchy than Carnaroli or Vialone Nano, it’s shorter grain has less structure and absorbs liquid much quicker than the Italian grown varieties. It goes mushy and starchy and is great for puddings and Arancini ( rice ) balls but makes for a very dense and hard to cook Risotto. This might be the reason you feel Risotto is hard to cook or never turns out well for you. Read more about rice here
So buy a bag of Carnaroli Rice. It will cost you anywhere from $10 a kilo upwards. It can be found in Sydney at good food stores like Lario Food and Wine Co, Simon Johnson, The Cook and the Chef, Essential Ingredient, Fourth Village and various other similar stores. Have a look for a good food purveyor in your city. A bag will go a long way. A cup of rice will make enough for 3-4 people depending on what you eat with it.
This risotto took about 20 minutes to make and while I made it I prepared the sausages and a salad. I love having it through the week because you can serve anything you like with it, leftover meats and vegetables or you can eat it as a side with grilled meat or seafood. You don’t need to mount it with heaps of butter or cheese. We just add a small amount of both, but please if you want to add more then you should. We also love it reheated and sometimes fried in a little olive oil, the cheese in it tastes like heaven when heated this way.
- 1 cup carnaroli rice
- 1 litre warm chicken stock ( and about 1 cup extra - just in case)
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 stick of celery finely diced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 packet ( 500gm- 16 oz) sausages - your choice, I used Italian style pork sausages
- 1 tablespoon extra oil
- ½ cup peas
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese (more or less if you like)
- Chives for garnish
- Put a pot on the stove to heat the stock (or you could heat it in a jug in the microwave), I use this opportunity to cook my peas. Then I dig them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Put the lid on the stock to keep warm
- Put a high sided heavy pot onto the stove on medium. Add the olive oil and the onion and celery and soften for 2 minutes. Add the rice and toss in the oil till warm. Begin to add the stock 1 cup at a time. Turn the stove down a little so that the liquid doesn't evaporate too quickly. Stir occasionally.
- Put a non stick fry pan on to cook the sausages. Add the extra oil and let them cook on medium till done.
- Meanwhile add the stock slowly, cup by cup. You can add the tomato paste after the second or third cup. (Don't let the rice dry up and fry)
- By the time all of the 1 litre of a stock ( approx 4 cups) is added the rice should be cooked through with just a small amount of firmness in the grain. All rice is very different so add a little more stock if you want your rice more cooked.
- Add ½ of the cheese and the butter ( if using) stir through and put on the lid and sit for several minutes while you cut the sausages into quarters .
- Serve the risotto with sausages some snipped chives a few peas and extra cheese,