Cooking a proper risotto takes time, care and only a few ingredients. This is not one of those proper risottos as it is done from start to finish rather quickly and is loaded with dairy products and other needless ingredients; it tastes delicious and is delightful to make all the same.
This is a recipe that you can easily change the ingredients around for and adopt to your own taste; add in a few different spices, choose a different meat or meat-free substitute and choose different vegetables. The same person can cook a risotto ten times and it look and taste completely unique and that is a fantastic way to keep the meal idea alive and in rotation for a quick go-to mid-week meal.
Before you even consider giving this recipe a go, please make sure you have a really good non-stick saucepan. Unless you have trained the eye to know when the risotto is going to need that little bit more boiling stock it can be a little difficult to avoid the odd bit of sticking and a dodgy pan will do you no favours at all here.
Ingredients (For Two)
- Two small chicken breasts, or one larger one of course, chopped into 2x2x2 style cubes
- Two portions of risotto rice. The one we use is Arborio rice from Asda where the packet is useful enough to tell you how much should be poured for a single portion
- An onion, chopped
- A large clove of garlic, finely chopped
- A large handful of mushrooms, we just used standard white mushrooms, sliced
- Salt, pepper, mixed herbs and a litre of boiling hot vegetable stock
- Two cups of sweetcorn, we just use frozen but tinned or fresh from the cob is suitable too
- A little bit of margarine
- Some cheese, we probably use way too much, I would suggest about a handful of it once grated would be enough
- (For the side you can serve with salad to balance out the dish and make it more nutritious)
- Put the margarine into a large saucepan and start to heat up. Add in the chicken and wait until this is fully cooked before adding the onions, mushrooms, garlic and seasoning in
- Add in the rice and then add a small amount of the stock (usually two to three ladles at a time should be sufficient) and put the pan on a medium heat
- Make sure that you stir the rice occasionally as this helps to ensure that there is no sticking to the bottom of the pan but risotto rice also takes quite well to a mild stirring. When the stock seems to have disappeared keep adding a couple more ladles until the rice is cooked to the level of bite you like
- At this point you need to use your judgement and when you are adding in what you believe will be the last amount of stock pop the sweetcorn in and give it a good mix around. Doing it at this stage and giving it a mix should not result in it being cooled down too much and should help to add that final bit of liquid alongside the stock
- You need to turn the heat down that little bit more now as when the stock has gone there will be no additional liquid getting added and you do not want it to end up sticking or becoming dry!
- Take the pan off the heat completely and mix in the cheese well. If you wanted to add something in like spinach this would be the stage to do it as mixing it in with the hot ingredients in the pan will see it wilting but not too much that it turns to mush. This will change the consistency of the risotto so add a little of the cheese at a time until it is either cheesy enough for you or has a texture that you feel comfortable with
- Serve up
This is not the sort of dish that I would recommend for reheating because of it having both chicken and rice going on but it could be transformed into something like risotto balls (minus the chicken pieces) that are reshaped, coated and then cooked at a really high temperature whilst being fried.
If you do have leftovers take the risotto straight out of the pan and put into a tupperware dish to cool down. The risotto will continue to cook and risk drying out if it is left in a hot/warm pan whilst you go off and eat the immediately served up food. Be sure to give it a good mix up with a fork before popping it into the fridge and before you go to eat it take it out of the fridge for 15 minutes to settle at room temperature a little as cold risotto can be a little claggy otherwise.
What is your favourite type of risotto to cook? The Cooking Up A Treat household gets through quite a few risottos over the space of a year so we are always on the hunt for new tasty combinations!