Risotto has to be a favourite all around the world. I remember as a child, you got white rice and brown rice – well that was the extent of what I was exposed to. Nowadays there are so many yummy varieties, that we have had to make extra space in our pantry cupboard for all the types we keep.
± 1.1 litres stock (chicken, fish or vegetable as appropriate)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots or 2 medium onions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
½ a head celery finely chopped
400g risotto rice
2 wine glasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
115g freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 good handfuls fresh lemon thyme leaves picked off
8 slices prosciutto
155g goat’s cheese crumbed
- Heat the stock. In a separate pan heat the olive oil, add the shallots or onions, garlic and celery and fry slowly for about 4 minutes. When the vegetables have softened add the rice and turn up the heat.
- The rice will now begin to fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring – it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.
- Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a highish simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch from the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. At this stage add the lemon thyme. This will take around 15 minutes. Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully.
- Remove from the heat and add the butter, parmesan and pecorino cheese. Stir gently. Place a lid on the pan and allow to it sit for 2-3 minutes. This is the most important part of making the risotto as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be.
Lay over the prosciutto slices just before eating and serve with the goat’s cheese crumbed over the top. Scatter with a little extra thyme leaves if you like. Eat as soon as possible while the risotto retains its perfect texture.
Submitted by: Tracey van Niekerk, Mauritius