Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Pea, mint and pancetta risotto


Risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano - I would recommend carnaroli), vegetable stock, brandy, garden peas, pancetta cubes, halloumi, onion, cream.

All risottos (no matter what the ingredients) can be made in 3 simple stages. The first is called tostatura - coating the rice in fat, the second involves cooking off some alcohol (white wine, brandy or vermouth produce the best flavours) and the second involves releasing the starch from the rice one ladle of stock at a time.

1) Finely dice half a white onion and add into a hot pan along with a generous glug of olive oil. Stir through and after 30 seconds add in 1 cup of risotto rice (this will serve one - add a half cup for each additional person).

2) Stir through until the olive oil has coated the rice evenly. When you see the grain of rice becoming clear, revealing a white dot in the centre add a shot of brandy or glass of white wine and stir through.

3) Add a ladle of vegetable stock and continue to stir the rice.

4) Add additional stock, ladle by lady as the stock cooks off. By the third ladle add a good handful of chopped mint and your peas. With the last ladle, add some cubed halloumi and the pancetta.

5) When the rice is soft (takes about 20 minutes) serve. A good risotto will be a little soupy rather than dry. It should be possible to form a mound of rice but when the dish is tapped it should sink down. if you wish add a dash of cream.

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