Ingredients for Basic Risotto:
1.1 litres Fresh chicken stock
1 x knob of butter
1 x large onion, finely chopped
2 x cloves garlic, creamed
½ head celery, finely chopped
400g risotto rice
2 x wineglasses dry white vermouth or dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
1 knob of butter
90g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Pot Luck Ingredients - if you've got them:
1 x Spicy chorizo, chopped and quartered
3 x Chicken breasts sliced or diced
1 x Red pepper diced
1 x Bunch of green French beans chopped into bite sized pieces
Predominantly every risotto starts pretty much in the same way. You need warm stock (fresh preferably but make from a stock cube if that's all that's in the larder), so warm through and leave on a very low heat in a pan at the back of the hob.
In a pan fry off the chicken until has a lovely golden colour to it and it's cooked through. This should take about 5-8 minutes, remove the chicken and any residual juice from the pan and then add in the chorizo and peppers, let the edges colour and crisp up on the chorizo. Add the chicken back and combine so that all the juices are merged and set this aside to rest.
Take out a heavy based pan, heat the butter (or use a few glugs of olive oil), add your finely chopped onions, garlic and celery and very gently sweat them for about 15 minutes until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables have no colouring. When the mix has softened, add in the rice and turn up the heat. Keep stirring intermittently, you don't want the rice to stick to the bottom of the pan but you do want the starch to be activated. After a minute a minute or two the rice will have a slight translucent quality and it is at this juncture you need to add the vermouth or wine. Keep stirring until all the juice has absorbed into the rice and then add your first ladle of hot stock.
It is important to turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside and have a mushy outside and crunch inside texture. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock two at a time at first until you begin to see the oozy consistency then add in the chicken, pepper and chorizo, combining well with the rice. From this point on, only add one ladle at a time, making sure that stock is being absorbed/combined into the risotto rice. Keep stirring regularly to massage the creamy starch out of the rice. This process will take around 15 minutes.
As always, taste the rice to check that it is cooked and only carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite and as always check the seasoning carefully particularly if you are using a Knorr or other stock cube.
Remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan and stir well, so that you have a lovely creamy saffron coloured risotto. Place the lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes.
Then serve with a crisp green salad, eating as soon as possible with an extra lashing of fresh grated parmesan.