Freezer-raid springtime risotto

By Jamie Oliver
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Without sounding too soppy, a wellmade risotto is like a big cuddle from your mum; it just makes you feel good. Follow my basic risotto recipe, then create your own take on it. This version uses lots of lovely frozen veg.

SERVES
6
TOTAL TIME

Ingredients

  • 1 litre vegetable stock (a stock cube is fine)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • Olive oil
  • 2 knobs of unsalted butter
  • 300 grams risotto rice
  • Optional: 125 milliliters white wine
  • 300 grams mixed frozen green veg, such as spinach, green beans and peas
  • 60 grams freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a pan on a low heat. Peel the onion, trim the celery, then finely chop or coarsely grate them. Put one tablespoon of olive oil, one knob of butter, plus the onion and celery into a high-sided pan on a low heat. Season lightly with sea salt and black pepper and cook for five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veg is soft but not coloured.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium, add the rice and stir for two minutes, so it sucks up all the lovely flavour. If using, pour in the wine and stir until absorbed.
  3. Add a ladleful of hot stock, stir, and wait until it’s been fully absorbed before adding more. Cook for 16 to 18 minutes, adding more stock every minute or so and stirring regularly, until the rice is al dente. This means it should be soft and a pleasure to eat, but still holding its shape.
  4. About five minutes before your rice is ready, stir in the frozen veg to cook through.
  5. Now, your risotto needs to be slightly looser than you want it to be, as it will thicken as it sits, so add an extra ladleful of stock. Turn off the heat, stir or beat in the remaining butter and the Parmesan, then season to perfection.
  6. Pop the lid on and let it sit for two minutes before serving. The most important thing is that the risotto is always oozy.
  7. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, an extra grating of cheese and, if you’ve got it, a tiny squeeze of lemon juice per portion.

Tips:

EASY SWAPS:

  1. You could swap the onion for leek, and leave out the celery if you need to.
  2. If you can’t get risotto rice, try paella or pudding rice, or even pearl barley. Just be sure to check the packet instructions and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  3. If you haven’t got Parmesan, you can absolutely use Cheddar. It’s not classic by any means, but it will still taste incredible.

MORE FLAVOUR COMBOS:

  1. Fresh or tinned tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and Parmesan.
  2. Squash, sausage and sage (dried will do).

©2020 Jamie Oliver Enterprises ltd. Photographer; Paul Stuart. © 2020 Jamie Oliver

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