Tag Archives: risotto

Fennel and White Wine Risotto with a knob of butter

One good thing about having a cool spring is that I was able to make risotto one last time before the summer heat overtakes our condo. Since our condo faces west, the early evening sun heats up the place and makes the task of stirring hot broth into rice an unpleasant one to say the least.

That reminds me, risotto apparently works quite well in a pressure cooker. Perhaps the warm weather will make me break with tradition and opt for the quick no-stir method. Time will tell.

This risotto recipe was passed along to me by a co-worker.  One day, I was politely eyeing her lunch (this happens quite often), so she sent me the link.  The recipe is courtesy of Waitrose, a UK grocery store.

She and her husband hail from the UK, so we always have fun pointing out the different words used for things there and here. For example, jumper and sweater, garden and backyard, and football and soccer, to name a few.  I think my favourite one is flapjacks.  In Canada flapjacks, without a doubt, refers to pancakes.  In the UK it refers to a crunchy oatmeal-based cookie akin to a sweet granola bar. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. We both speak English, but sometimes it is like another language.  She made a batch of UK flapjacks for us to try, which we all agreed was a nice way to learn about a “different language” and a little easier to share at lunchtime than a plate of Canadian flapjacks.

The risotto recipe had a couple of firsts in it for me too: the first time I had cooked with fennel (hard to believe, I know) and the first time I had made risotto with white wine. The fennel was great (except that I did not chop it fine enough – easily remedied), but the white wine, not so much. I really dislike white wine and figured I would get past it in a risotto, but I couldn’t. Next time I make this dish, or another risotto that calls for white wine, I will leave it out and use extra stock.

The other thing that worked against me was that the power went out for 30 minutes right in the middle of cooking the risotto. Sigh. The texture was certainly a bit off and I had to add a few extra ladles of stock to get the dish back on track, but it survived.  At least the risotto was saved and we didn’t have to garbage it and go out to eat.

I used the recipe as is, so click here to take a look.

Oh, if you are wondering, a knob of butter translates to 2 tablespoon here in Canada.

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Root Vegetable Risotto with Red Beans from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen

Amazing, yet simple.

That is how I would describe tonight’s dinner.

I read the recipe over this morning as I was making out the grocery list and thought this might be a bit boring, but I liked the idea that the dish included beans.  That, I thought, was a bit different for risotto.  I was also a little worried that EPC would not get past the fact that there was turnip in tonight’s dinner.  He knew it was in there and he didn’t mind one bit.  How could he mind.  The risotto was  anything but boring.  It was delicious!

After the first two bites my husband gave me a high five and inquired about the cookbook that the recipe came from.

“It is another Peter Berley success”, I said. ” Remember the Coconut Sweet Potato Soup? Same guy”.

This time, the recipe comes from his award-winning cookbook The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.

One more thing.

At first EPC did not believe me that there was no cheese in the dish, but that is one of the great things about risotto – the creaminess.  It is such a satisfying meal on a chilly day.

We had went out for an hour-long walk this afternoon.  The temperature was only -4°C, but with the windchill it was an unexpected -11°C.  It was great to get some fresh air and light exercise , but I was glad when we got home.  I certainly picked the perfect night to make risotto, I thought.

For those of you unfamiliar with the dish, it involves adding stock to the arborio rice in 1/2 cup increments and continuously stirring until the stock in absorbed, then repeating until all the stock is gone and the rice is tender yet firm.

The warmth received from standing over the stove was welcome.

Root Vegetable Risotto with Red Beans

5 cups of vegetable stock (I used one cube in 5 cups of water)
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I used a generous dash of salt)
1/2 cup grated burdock root (I could not find burdock root, so I added a bit more of the other root vegetables to compensate)
1/2 cup peeled and grated turnip
1/2 cup peeled and grated parsnip
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup arborio rice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup cooked kidney beans, canned (or from 1/3 cup dried, soaked and cooked)
2 tablespoons of butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish

  • Simmer the stock in a saucepan.
  • In a separate saucepan heat the oil, onion and salt over medium heat. Saute four or five minutes until softened.
  • Add the burdock, turnip, parsnip, and carrot and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice tomato paste, ginger, and garlic and cook while stirring for about 1 minute, until the rice is well coated with the tomato paste.
  • Add 1 cup of simmering stock and adjust the heat so the risotto continues to simmer.
  • Cook, stirring constantly until most of the stock has been absorbed. Continue to add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, as the liquid gets absorbed.  This should take about 25 -30  minutes from start to finish.
  • When the rice has absorbed about 3 1/2 cups of stock, add the kidney beans.
  • Continue adding stock until the rice is tender.
  • Swirl in the butter, season with pepper and top with parsley.