Sometimes risotto is a way to use up stuff in the fridge, thrown together with a prayer that it will all be ok. Sometimes risotto is a carefully planned showstopping, lovingly made with expensive ingredients that are marinaded and slow-roasted for ages before the final dish is ready. And sometimes a risotto actually fits in the first category, but is fancy enough that people think it’s the second.
This risotto was thrown together with cheap and cheerful ingredients, but would be suitable to serve anyone you’re trying to impress.
I find that people get a bit worried about risottos. They’re under the impression that they are in some way difficult, or that if they momentarily stop stirring they will cause some sort of fracture in the time-space continuum. It’s true that risotto is quite an involved dish, you can’t, for example, set it going and then go and run a marathon. But if you stop stirring for a minute to let the dog out, or even to go an have a quick wee, nothing bad will happen. The TARDIS will not land in your kitchen (more’s the pity). The Doctor will not shout at you to ‘RUN’. Weeping Angels will not start climbing out of your cupboards.
That being said, do try and stay with your risotto and stir it as gently as you can. But do not be afraid to blink.
(Apologies, the above must read as terribly esoteric if you’re not a Whovian. The funny thing is, I didn’t realise I was one until now…)
Fancy (Not Actually Fancy) Salmon, Pea and Lemon Risotto
- One white onion, finely chopped
- One clove of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- A knob of butter or glug of oil.
- 150g risotto rice
- 500 mls stock of your choice (veg or chicken)
- 3 handfuls frozen peas
- 80g smoked salmon trimmings
- Half a lemon
- Black pepper
- Two tbsps cream cheese (optional)
- Melt your butter or heat your oil in a medium sized pan.
- Add your onions and garlic to the pan and gently soften them on a low heat for about 5 minutes. Do not rush your onions.
- Add your rice to the pan and stir it in the hot oil or melted butter.
- Add a big ladleful of stock to your rice, stir through.
- Once the stock is absorbed, add another ladleful of stock at a time, stirring each time you add the stock.
- Once most of your stock has been used, taste the rice. it should be just about cooked. The Italians call it ‘al dente’ so it should still have a little bite to it, which means it isn’t soft like rice pudding, but shouldn’t have any raw-rice crunch to it either. If it’s not cooked yet, you may need to add a little more stock.
- Now add your peas and the remaining stock, stir through.
- After 2-3 minutes, the peas should be cooked and all the stock absorbed. Check that they are. No one wants still frozen peas.
- Stir through your smoked salmon. Smoked salmon is already cooked so you’re just warming it through rather than cooking it.
- Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, being careful to catch any seeds.
- Pop into two serving bowls.
- Grind over plenty of fresh black pepper and top with a dollop of cream cheese to stir through.
- Be relieved that you made a risotto and there is no rip in the time-space continuum. Feel a little sad that you’ve not been visited by The Doctor and taken on as his assistant. Eat your risotto and feel better. Cooking – such an emotional sci-fi roller-coaster, huh?