Jamie Oliver has been my go to guy for many a recipe, but none more so than for his basic risotto recipe. It has become a staple. It is fail-proof and will always result in that perfect creamy yet somehow ‘light’ risotto. The best thing about making risotto is that you can pretty much add whatever you want to the rice depending on what you are in the mood for, and what ingredients you have at hand.
I usually make mine with lots of bacon, mushrooms and vegetables – and I love it! There was a time I would make this almost every Sunday in Singapore. Michelle, one of my best friend would come over in the afternoon, and we would both be slightly hung-over and in need of some comfort. She would grab a stool in the kitchen and we would analyse and chat about the night before as I diligently ladled and stirred a spoon full of stock at a time. Those are some of my favourite memories!
Talking of ‘laddeling’– this is a really important step and not one to miss. By laddeling in the stock a small amount at a time and stirring, you are encouraging all the creamy ‘starchy-ness’ out of the rice giving you that lovely oozy risotto.
I was slightly sceptical of this, and had a little experiment this weekend as I did the risotto both ways. On Saturday I was a bit lazy and just added in all the stock to the rice at once to see what happens – the result was less than impressive. Although the flavours were ‘Okay’ the rice was incredibly stodgy and thick and just not very good! On Sunday I tried it again, going back to my old faithful recipe – and there was a paramount difference in both taste and texture. So the moral of the story is ‘Ladle and Stir!’
Jamie Oliver’s Basic Risotto Recipe
- approx 1.1 litres/2 pints stock (chicken, fish or vegetable as
- 1 knob of butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- ½ a head of celery, finely chopped
- 400g/14oz risotto rice
- 2 wine glasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 70g/2½oz butter
- 115g/4oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
stage 1: Heat the stock. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
stage 2: The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.
stage 3: 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 simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside and become flaky. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.
stage 4: Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.
Bacon and Mushroom Risotto
Apart from straying from this method on Saturday – this is how I make my risotto each and every time. As I mentioned I usually use bacon and mushrooms and I would highly suggest this combination.
What I do, is before I start to make the risotto I fry up the bacon and mushrooms and what ever other vegetables I fancy for my
risotto (usually peas and sweet corn) first and then put it aside. In the same frying pan I then start stage 1 – I like the idea of frying the onions in all the left over bacon fat, as it gives the risotto a deep flavour.
Then I add in the vegetables and bacon again at the end of stage 3 – and there you have it Bacon and Mushroom Risotto – It really could not be more simpler!
If you want more inspiration for risotto click here to get to Jamie’s website: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/search/Risotto