Risotto is one of those dishes that seems a lot harder to make than it really is, and although attention is required to ensure you have enough stock in the pan at all times to cook the rice, it’s a knack that’s quickly acquired.
It’s a knack that’s worth acquiring too, because risotto is absolutely delicious and you can easily tinker with the recipe to include all your favourite things.
Registered nutritionist Pixie Turner (RNutr) created this risotto recipe for Discover Great Veg, a campaign committed to helping you use more leeks, kale, spinach and cavolo nero in your cooking. The recipe is duly loaded with healthy green veg, providing two of your five-a-day. You can find plenty more recipes that involve that veg quartet on the Discover Great Veg website. Spoilers: leeks and sausages are paired in a number of recipes.
The vegetarian recipe involves five minute of prep and 25 of cooking, and you can also easily make it vegan by leaving out the cheese and butter, in which case Turner recommends being extra generous with your final drizzle of olive oil.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 1½tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 80g leek, diced
- 1 vegetable stock cube with 500ml boiling water (plus extra water if needed)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 200g risotto rice
- 1 courgette (250g), coarsely grated
- 150g cavolo nero, leaves left whole or finely sliced
- 50g grated vegetarian hard cheese (optional)
- 50g unsalted butter (optional)
- Heat 1tbsp of the olive oil in a wide pan over a medium heat.
- Gently cook the leek for around five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In the meantime, make the stock.
- Add the garlic and risotto rice to the pan and heat through, stirring continuously for one minute.
- Add half the stock and stir thoroughly. Set a timer for 15 minutes (or the recommended cooking time on the rice packaging minus two minutes).
- Cook the courgette separately in the remaining olive oil to remove any excess moisture, then add to the risotto pan when the timer says ten minutes to go.
- Stir the rice continuously to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan – turn down the heat if necessary.
- Any time the rice gets too dry, add a little more stock, but not too much at a time. If it bubbles too much, turn down the heat a little.
- Add the cavolo nero when the timer says five minutes to go.
- When the timer goes off, taste test the risotto. It should be al dente, not completely soft. If it’s ready, turn off the heat and add most of the cheese and the butter, stirring in gently until deliciously creamy.
- Serve immediately, adding a sprinkling of cheese and a final drizzle of olive oil onto each individual plate.