I don’t like to rush my cooking but am often in a situation these days where its hard to find the time to leisurely make meals… its often more about quickly preparing something that is nutritious and also likely to be eaten by the children and enjoyed by the grownups. I like to have some meals that I can prepare quickly and without having to read recipes too much. Risotto, for me, is one of these. Mastering the art of making a good risotto (or even just an okay one) allows you to make a quick, nutritious and delicious meal the whole family can enjoy in less than 30 minutes. Leftovers make a great lunch, too.

Basic risotto for four

I know that sometimes people shy away from making risottos because they are seen as being too fiddly and a bit of hard work. I actually really like to make them and I feel that once you have mastered a basic risotto it can be adapted to whatever you have in the fridge or store cupboard.

There are only a few things you need to make a good risotto: onion, stock, risotto rice, Parmesan, and olive oil. A small amount of white wine  is good too, but not critical.

Once you have mastered the basic risotto you can make any combination you like. You can add a variety of ingredients near the end of the cooking process eg: cooked chicken, spinach, cooked pumpkin, lemon juice and zest, salmon or white fish. The options are endless. From a basic risotto with chirozo and frozen peas, to something quite fancy-pants, like this champagne and leek risotto recently reviewed on Radio National. It turns out it is from Pipi – the cookbook by Alexandra Tylee (and would be lovely and easy dinner to make for other grown-ups). You could also try your hand at baked risotto’s such as the pumpkin, pancetta and sage risotto. Or what about some of the other risotto’s shared here at Munch, like Beetroot risotto and Pumpkin and pancetta risotto or for a twist try this baby friendly Summer Fruit Risotto Salad Yummy Yummy.

Storecupboard basic risotto - easy family meal
  • 1 onion, medium dice
  • 2 cups of risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli are good options)
  • 5-6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable are good)
  • ¼ cup wine
  • 50-75 gm grated Parmesan
  • 50 gm butter
  1. Heat the stock in a separate pan.
  2. In another, larger one saute your onions (or leeks or spring onions) in oil and half the butter. Add your rice, let the grains get coated in the oil.
  3. Add approximately a ¼ cup of wine and let it evaporate.
  4. Add the warm stock half a cupful at a time, allowing it to be absorbed by the rice before you add another cupful. Stir gently.
  5. When the rice is cooked to your liking (al dente: with a little bite left in it is traditional) remove from heat and stir through rest of the butter and grated cheese.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper – if you have used pre-made stock and a salty parmesan you might not need any additional salt.
  7. Serve in warmed wide bowls to slow the cooking process down.
Mummy to three small boys

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