Garlic Tomato & Basil Risotto

So I admitted defeat today. After almost 6 years, I piled high ready for disposal, all the clothes I’d clung on to from before I had kids, in the vain hope that one day I would fit them again. Ha. Mother nature -1; Me – 0. Sob, sob.

The natural reaction to such an activity would be to pull up one’s (slightly bigger than desired) trousers and say “Right! I will conquer those dastardly extra pounds!”. Me? I would have headed straight for the Nutella Cookie Cups, had there been any left. However, in their place I had made Mint Chocolate Brownie Slice (blog to follow). Bollocks to dieting.

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And in that vain comes todays recipe. It’s a carb-fest. So not for the Atkins/Paleo etc followers out there. But to be totally honest, it’s not that bad for you. A bit of cheese, a little oil, and that’s about it really. And it’s really tasty. The original recipe came from Delicious magazine many years ago, using barley instead of rice. It’s a vegetarian recipe, and is seriously nice just as it is, but on this occasion I had some ham to spare, so added that. The quantities given will serve two – just double up etc to serve more.

Ingredients

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1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion, chopped (or frozen)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed / tsp frozen garlic
150g arborio rice
50ml white wine
500ml vegetable stock
30g parmesan
8 cherry / 3 salad tomatoes
1 tsp dried / frozen basil

1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Let this soften, then add one garlic clove or teaspoon of garlic, and gently cook for a couple of minutes.

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2. Add the rice and stir to get it coated in the oil. Begin to add the stock, about 100ml at a time.

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Stir the stock into the rice until it is absorbed, then add some more. Keep doing this until all the stock has been used and absorbed into the rice. Take the pan off the heat.

3. Meanwhile, heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and add the tomatoes plus the second clove of garlic/teaspoon of garlic. Cook the tomatoes until they have softened, about ten minutes.

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4. To the rice, add the cheese and the tomatoes, the basil and some seasoning – I also added some peas for extra colour, and the ham. Put a lid on the pan and leave for about 5 minutes to let the rice absorb the last of the liquid. The pan should be completely off the heat.

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You could add some bacon in step 2, before adding the rice. I added some ham with the cheese as it was already cooked. Or you can leave it without, whatever takes your fancy. Serve with a lovely side salad and some garlic bread 🙂

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This is a dish that needs a bit of care and attention. I find you can’t just chuck in all the stock and be done. Adding the stock slowly, letting it be absorbed and stirring, before adding more, gives the risotto a lovely creaminess. I tend to make risotto when I’m not refereeing world war three i.e. when the kids are in bed.

Happy cooking!

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Author: Sarah Margetts

Busy mum of four, cooking up a storm.