A favourite dish of mine is risotto. A lot of people would hear the word risotto and may get put off, thinking that it is too complicated or expensive to make. But, don’t be fooled as it is actually really simple! Once you have mastered the basic risotto recipe, it’s easy to play around with different flavour combinations to create show stopping student meals.
Risotto is a staple in my meal repertoire. A plain risotto can be made in under 30 minutes and then an array of toppings added to create a delicious meal (and leftovers for lunch the next day!). It’s one of those dishes where the basic store cupboard ingredients can be whipped out and combined with what ever you have in your fridge. Risotto calls for arborio rice; which are short, stubby grains of rice that release starch as they cook to create a creamy risotto.
Tomatoes come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours – too many sometimes! I often find myself staring at the array of tomatoes in the supermarket, completely baffled by which ones to choose. For this recipe, I’d opt for the smallest and cheapest ones, so that they’ll roast super quickly and by slow roasting them you’ll add lots of flavour. Also, with it coming to the end of the British tomato season, it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up some cheap British tomatoes before the prices rocket for imported ones. These fruits (yes, fruits) are a great source of vitamin C, so will help to fight off the inevitable Fresher’s Flu that is lurking everywhere at this time of year.
Creamy Pesto Risotto with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Green Beans
Serves 2 | Takes 30mins
1 onion, finely diced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of arborio rice
500ml hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp green pesto
a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
a handful of green beans
Preheat oven at 150C. Lay the halved cherry tomatoes onto a tray and season with olive oil and salt. Cook in the oven for around 30 minutes, whilst the risotto is being prepared.
Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and add the diced onion. Fry for around 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the rice and another tablespoon of olive oil. Stir until all the rice is covered in the oily onion mixture. The grains should turn translucent, after a couple of minutes.
Turn the heat down and add enough stock to cover the rice. Stir the risotto as it simmers and keep slowly adding stock. The rice should double in size as it absorbs the liquid.
After 15 minutes, add the green beans and stop adding stock so that a creamy rice dish is there.
Portion into 2 bowls. Add a tablespoon of pesto to each bowl and stir through, before topping with the slow roasted cherry tomatoes.
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