The other night the flatmates and I nearly ordered takeaways. We nearly just had toasted sandwiches for dinner and we nearly declared that it was fend-for-yourself-dinner. But, it was Sunday and we had a cupboard full of groceries, so I sucked it up and ended up making a boomer risotto. Risotto seems to be one of those things that people either love or hate, or they think is really difficult. The reality is, with a few key ingredients and being extremely versatile with what you can chuck in, it's a great recipe to have in the repertoire. All the ingredients were seasonal and fresh, hence the spring name. I used a small red onion, half a fennel bulb, and a leek for the base. Inspired by hungryandfrozen's recent pea risotto, I used frozen peas too. What really made this great though was the addition of lemon zest and fresh mint. The flavours all worked together beautifully. I struggle to eat risotto without plenty of parmesan and cracked pepper. And that's exactly what I did.
*Finely slice one leek, a small red onion and some fennel. Sauté gently in a large fry pan with a slosh of olive oil and a decent knob of butter. Turn up the heat slightly; give it a good ten minutes or so.
*Have 1-2 cups of stock warm on the stove. You can use bought or homemade stock, or if you're on a budget just use stock cubes dissolved in boiling water (I used Campbell's Real Stock, and some oxo vege stock cubes)
*Add arborio rice to the fry pan. I used most of a 500g packet and that served 4 people a decent portion each with one portion leftover. Add a ladle of stock and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring until the stock is absorbed. Add 1-2 cups of frozen peas. Add more stock and continue stirring while it absorbs. Season well. Add lemon zest and fresh mint, finely chopped. Continue adding until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked but still firm to the bite. This usually takes about half an hour. Use a fork to smash up some of the peas. Towards the end, grate over some parmesan and stir. Serve, garnished with cracked pepper and additional parmesan.
If we have to endure spring rain, we can at least enjoy spring flavours. Enjoy!