I thought I’d celebrate this month with a lovely, light risotto. It’s a sort of celebration of flavours. Admittedly, there’s a lot of stirring involved in risottos. For a simple dish, there is a fair amount of labour involved. But it is a labour or love and it is an easy one – it’s not that bad an ask to stand there stirring with one hand, glass of wine in the other, whilst chatting to your friends – easy peasy!I love risotto, and once you understand the basics of it, you’ll be able to make any flavour you like. I find it helpful when I’m making a recipe I’ve not done before, to read it through from beginning to end before you start cooking. This will help you break down the recipe into a few basic steps, so that you may understand the broad process of what’s going on. I know this sounds nerdy, but if you’re not a big cook, or just learning to cook, it’s a really, really good tip. If you can let go in the kitchen, and not be a slave to a recipe, you will find your own creativity and inspiration and you’ll truly feel like you’re having more fun in the kitchen – well, that and a little vino, and you’ll be thoroughly enjoying yourself!

Courguette and Dill Risotto

1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
500gm Arborio rice
1 bottle nice, dry white wine
1.25L chicken or veg stock
2 courguettes in small dice
1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped
1 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1 dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)

Put the stock into a saucepan that will fit it and keep it over low heat on the stove top. Then, put a large, heavy based saucepan over medium heat and add in a couple of tablespoons full of olive oil. Add the chopped onions to this and sweat them gently until they have softened. Be careful not to brown them here, that is not the flavour we’re after, we just want to make them soft and translucent by cooking them gently. Pour yourself a glass of wine.

After a few minutes, add the garlic and stir it around for a minute or so to soften. Next add the rice and stir it well into the onions and garlic until it is well coated by the oil. Turn the heat up slightly and pour in a good cup of wine – the rest of the bottle is yours! The wine should bubble up nicely and the rice will start to absorb it.

When the wine has been almost all absorbed, add a ladle full of stock or two. Stir the rice well and agitate the pan a little. Keep adding the stock in this way, waiting for each addition to absorb, until you’re about half way through the amount of stock. Now, add the diced courguettes and continue adding stock until all has been absorbed.

Near the end of adding all the stock, you’re looking for a nice, thick consistency, not too soupy and not too dry – and the rice should be slightly al dente – it should still have a tiny bite to it, almost like it’s not quite cooked – this is perfect risotto!

When all the stock has been added, stir in the Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan if you have it), the dill and if you would like it creamy, you can add some crème fraîche or sour cream – just a dollop if you fancy it. A little soft goats’ cheese would also pair well with this risotto.

Serve out onto plates or large bowls, preferably with the wine you made it with…but a good white wine will do well enough.

I also roasted some baby beetroots to go with mine, but you don’t have to serve risotto with anything other than wine. And that’s it. A lovely dish, that’s light but filling and will make a great meal for either lunch or supper. Now, bring on those salads!

¡Buen provecho!

Erica Choate

Article copyright 24/7 Valencia

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