Cooking Experiences

Cheap, cheerful, and colourful: Pea and tarragon risotto

Charlotte blogs about one of her favourite dishes to eat.

I love risotto. In fact, it’s one of my favourite things to order when we eat out, but in the past I’ve felt a little bit intimidated about cooking it myself.

The idea of adding the liquid to the rice so gradually and being so patient and careful with timings has put me off trying many risotto recipes, but after getting some gorgeous risotto rice for my birthday last weekend, I decided to throw caution to the wind by making a new recipe.

I found an achievable-looking recipe online and set about buying the ingredients we didn’t have (thankfully most of the ingredients were store cupboard essentials so I didn’t need to buy too much).

The resulting dish was one of the nicest things I’ve ever made, and one of the most satisfying too. Watching the dish come together after so much patience and care made the eating experience all the more delicious!

It really was a simple dish to make, and here’s how I did it.

First of all, the key to making any risotto is preparation. Make sure you measure out all of your ingredients before you start cooking. Separate them all into little bowls and have them within easy reach of your pan.

Peas, herbs, and cheese

Peas, herbs, and cheese

I started by melting some butter in a wide pan before adding in some chopped onion and garlic. Once the onion and garlic had softened (cook them over a low heat to avoid burning), I added the risotto rice. I allowed about 75g per person of the rice and this resulted in a generous portion for the two of us.

Once I’d stirred the rice around and mixed it in with the lovely buttery mixture, I started ladling in some vegetable stock (I just used Knorr stock cubes mixed with boiling water).

Stock!

Stock!

Adding in one ladle of stock at a time, I stirred the rice occasionally until the stock had been absorbed. I then set about ladling in more, very gradually, and repeated the process until the rice was soft, creamy, and packed with moisture.

Adding the stock to the rice slowly

Adding the stock to the rice slowly

At this point, I added in a handful of frozen peas and some herbs (I went with tarragon but you could just as happily add in parsley or basil) and then stirred through a tablespoon of parmesan cheese. You could certainly add more cheese than this but I wanted the risotto to remain at least vaguely healthy!

I added a dash of salt and pepper and then let the whole thing rest for a few minutes before serving.

The final dish - yum!

The final dish – yum!

Given the cost, the flavour, and the amount of effort taken, I’m going to be making a lot more of this dish in the future. Risotto, I’m no longer intimidated by you!

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