This week it’s all about risotto, in this case seafood risotto. Risotto can be as rich and fatty as you want to make it, which obviously in this case we’re trying to avoid that. The trick to avoiding fat is to recognize that fat is what we as humans find interesting and flavoursome, so eliminating it runs the risk of making our food taste a bit boring. Once you accept this you can see the importance of seasoning, spicing and building strong base flavours. The homemade fish stock is the start point that builds the flavour, and is so easy to make. just wash the bones before you use them and follow the recipe. you can get the bones from Sandfords (cheap or free) or if you’re out fishing keep the bones. Make lots as it freezes well.
For the risotto, I’ve shown the pan method though on monday I did it in the oven adding the fish just for the last five minutes, both work really well. I also added saffron to both the stock and risotto which brings a wonderful richness and colour. As i said earlier we tend to associate flavour with the fat content, so just removing it will leave your meal missing something. replace with real natural flavours and its a joy to eat again. See you next week.
2kg soaked and washed fish bones
50g fresh herbs
3 litres cold water
12 white peppercorns
2 medium onions
2 bay leaves
2 white leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sticks celery
600ml white wine
Sweat the vegetables and herbs with the olive oil until soft but without colouring them. Add the fish bones and stir to coat. Add water and wine to cover and bring to the boil. Skim and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool (about 3 to 4 hours), sieve and store in the fridge or freezer.
The main point to remember when making risotto is that any liquid that you use, whether it is stock, wine or cream, should be boiling hot before you add it to the rice. This will stop your risotto from “clumping”.
For 2 – 3 main servings:
1 cup Aborio or risotto rice
2½ cups stock, boiling
½ onion or 2 shallots, chopped
1 – 2 cloves garlic, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
100 ml white wine
Salt and pepper
Extra hot stock, olive oil or butter
Heat the wine gently (and saffron, if using.) In another large pan, heat a little olive oil and sweat the “soffrito” slowly – garlic, onion and any other root vegetable being used (e.g. carrot, leek). Add the rice and heat through for 1 – 2 minutes (called toasting). Add hot wine and allow to reduce. Add the boiling stock all at once, bring back to the boil and add seasoning. Cover and simmer for 15 – 18 minutes.
Add flavourings, rest for a few minutes and then stir through parmesan, a little extra stock, gently heated cream, extra virgin olive oil or butter – the amount depends on how ‘allonde,’ or creamy, you like your risotto.
- Ø Porcini: Soak 15g dried porcini in 250ml warm water for at least 20 minutes. Strain and use some of the stock in risotto. Add sliced porcini at halfway point. Add heated cream at the end, along with parmigiano and chopped Italian parsley. Drizzle with Truffle oil.
- Ø Smoked Mushrooms: As above, but use Aromatics Smoked Mushrooms instead of porcini.
- Ø Smoked Salmon: Add chopped leek to the initial ‘soffrito’. Before adding Parmesan, add chopped, cooked Smoked Salmon.
- Ø Chorizo & Saffron: Add a pinch of crushed saffron to the wine/stock and, before you add the Parmesan at the end, fold through 2 cooked, chopped chorizo sausages.
- Ø Pumpkin: Cook cubed pumpkin slowly in EVO with garlic and some red wine and add with the Parmesan.
- Ø Lamb, Feta & Capers: Add 1 – 2 seared lamb fillets, marinated in Balsamic Vinegar and Infused Olive Oil (Lemon or Porcini) plus 2 tablespoon salted capers, soaked and rinsed and 100g cubed Creamy Feta.