I’m back, after what feels like forever away from the kitchen. In reality it’s only been a week of on the road craziness in my non-food life. Despite the vast array of delicious food on offer, eating out every meal – while a privilege – is not all it’s cracked up to be. Which is probably why I found myself devouring not-so-hot vegetables at midnight on Saturday. I was craving a good old feed of broccoli. What can I say, small things make me happy.
I’m grateful to be spending some down time with family at the moment. However, I am having kitchen/cooking withdrawal symptoms so am thankful that Mum is letting me cook in her house. I think I’ve mentioned before that she’s not so keen on the mess I make – naturally, we disagree on what defines ‘mess’ (and I do always clean up!).
While I love to spend all day in the kitchen, I do recognise that not everyone does and sometimes you need a quick one-pot wonder that will feed the whole family. Here’s an Italian risotto-like dish I made tonight. While not as creamy as a traditional risotto, there’s no toasting of the rice or slow adding of stock required. After the initial chopping, there’s nothing to it – it cooks itself.
The recipe is a modified version of one I found by Lidia Bastianich. I enjoy her show, “Lidia’s Italy”. Lidia lives in New York but hails from Istra (Istria), a large peninsular in the Adriatic that is shared by Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. While there’s nothing particularly special about the show, I think I probably like it because it reminds me of family and food in Croatia. We all have an aunt like Lidia.
What you’ll need
2 medium onions
2 medium carrots
1 stick celery
3 cloves garlic
5-600g chicken boneless chicken thighs (or breast, but thigh meat tastier)
1-2 bay leaves
250ml dry white wine
500ml chicken stock and 350ml boiling water (or 850ml chicken stock – best if it is hot)
300g Arborio rice
Freshly ground pepper
1-2 Tbsp butter
1/2 C chopped parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan (or Pecorino)
To make it
Roughly chop the vegetables and pop into a food processor and blitz until minced.
Heat a splash of oil in a 30cm heavy bottom fry pan, then add the minced vegetables. Cook for four or five minutes, turning until the mixture begins to dry out.
Meanwhile, chop the chicken into 2-3cm chunks.
Add another small amount of oil to the pan then the chicken and bay. Brown the chicken.
When chicken is browned all over, add the wine. Raise the heat and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated (I leave about a quarter). Add the stock/water then the rice. Add a good grind of salt and pepper and give it a mix. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat.
Cover the rice and simmer for 15-18 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and rice is cooked.
Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the butter, parsley and cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper if required.
Serve with extra Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice.
And check out my next post for what to do with leftovers!