Risi e bisi…. it’s easy peasy!

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Venetian Rice Dish with Pancetta and Peas

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This is one of those dishes that I have been meaning to get around to cooking for a while….I should have made it before – it is delicious!

Simplicity itself and considering the basic ingredients the result is remarkable. It satisfies the soul and calms the beast. It is awash with flavours.

For 4

60gm butter

3 tbsps olive oil

1 onion peeled and finely chopped

150 gm pancetta or smoky bacon

500gm frozen peas

A handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1.5 L of hot chicken or vegetable stock

400 gm arborio rice

50 gm parmesan grated

Good extra virgin oil for drizzling

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt 40 gm of the butter with the oil in a large sauté pan and fry the onion and pancetta for 5 minutes, stirring now and then, Add the peas with the parsley, and 2 ladlefuls of the hot stock. Simmer for 15 minutes – no lid – until the stock has evaporated.

Add the rice and stir gently on a medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in 500 ml of the stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. As soon as the water has been absorbed add more stock, a ladleful at a time. Cook for 20 more minutes until the risotto looks a little like soup and the rice is cooked but still has a bite to it.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and parmesan. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for 3 minutes. Serve in warmed bowls and drizzle on a little olive oil at the table.

Autumnal bliss in a bowl.

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Rough weather risotto…

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Rough weather risotto...

So what do you do when you come in out of the deluge that the local rain gods have chosen to favour your region with and you feel damp and a tad despondent – and you look in the fridge and there is a hatful of fresh spinach left over from Monday…and then you see the bowl of toasted pine nuts that are also left over from Monday making a pass at you from a kitchen shelf?

Only one thing to do – a spinach and pine nut risotto!

Bliss in a bowl bestowed upon you with basic ingredients that warm and soothe away the aches and melancholy induced by the foul ferocious weather of ferrel February.

For 4 fair folk

1 onion finely chopped
75 gm unsalted butter
400 gm arborio rice
1 glass of white wine
1.5 litres of chicken stock
salt and pepper
A handy hatful of spinach washed and chopped roughly
60 gm parmesan cheese grated
100 gm toasted pine nuts

Fry the onion in half the butter until soft and transparent. I use a large stainless steel sauté pan. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with the butter and onions. Add the wine and stir well. After 1 minute stir in a ladleful of stock.. Stir gently then add more stock. Continue like this for about 20 minutes – put some good music on and open a bottle of red to see you through. The rice will become soft and tender but the grains will remain firm – perfect. Season with a grind or two of sea salt and black pepper.

Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the butter, the spinach and the parmesan. Stir thoroughly and cover. Leave it to rest for two minutes, then serve in warmed bowls – top with the toasted pine nuts.

A brilliant way to use up two key ingredients left over from Monday’s bit of magic. This has to be a real favourite risotto of mine.

Simple and satisfying on a stormy eve.