Risotto is severely under rated, I promise it is more than ‘wet rice’ or ‘savoury porridge’ (although The Katering Show‘s episode about this is a hilarious must watch for any foodie, as are all their episodes ). Once you’ve made it a few times it also becomes pretty easy and you can totally multitask and don’t need to spend the whole time laboriously stirring the pot! The other thing they have going for them is that you can make an impressive meal for very little money. And I’m a teacher so being frugal is kind of important haha. The below recipe is for a basic mushroom risotto with spinach and peas. I’ve added thyme and sage as these are lovely with mushrooms, and lemon as this is so good with the peas. You could add chicken as well! Get stirring…


1.5cups arborio rice


500ml Bone broth/stock


2 sticks celery
2 spring onions
8 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic
50g streaky bacon
1cup peas
1 bunch english spinach (4-5 cups worth) stalks removed
300g mushrooms (use a variety, brown, cup, Swiss etc) sliced 2m thick in bite sized pieces roughly the same size
50g dried porcini mushrooms
250 ml dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Pinenuts toasted
12 sage leaves
40g butter
Zest of one lemon, juice of half.
Put dried mushrooms in a medium bowl and pour 500ml boiling water over. Soak for 15-20 mins. Drain reserving all but the last couple of tablespoons of water, this will have grit in it – you don’t want that! Add the reserved mushroom water to the stock and place in a pot on low heat.
Very finely dice the onion, celery, and garlic. Cut the bacon into 1cm pieces. Remove leaves from 5 of the thyme sprigs(discard sprigs).
 In a small pan melt 10g butter on a medium heat add sage leaves and fry lightly on each side. Place leaves on paper towel to drain.
 Melt 10g butter/ or heat 1Tbs olive oil in a large deep non stick frying pan over medium heat. Once butter is starting to bubble add the chopped celery, onion, garlic and bacon along with the thyme. Sauté over medium heat until the bacon is starting to colour and the celery is tender.
Add the rice and stir to coat, cook until the edges of rice are translucent (1-2 mins). Add wine and cook until evaporated.
Add mushrooms and then add about 1/4 of stock, stir. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and add more. Do not let it become dry. Keep adding stock in this fashion as it cooks. Every ten minutes or so check the texture of the rice. You want to turn the heat off when it is almost cooked through ‘al dente’. For the last 1/4 add half at a time with the last small addition being just before turning off the heat as you need to make sure there is still liquid left at this point as the next step will soak some up.
Once heat is turned off add the peas, Parmesan, zest, 2/3 of the pinenuts and spinach. Stir to combine and wilt spinach. Peas should cook in the residual heat of the rice.  Add the lemon juice  and 20g butter just before serving. Once served scatter with reserved pinenuts and fried sage.
HH. x

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