Saturday lunch. Risotto with courgettes and Brie

Every Saturday is cleaning day. Generally I wake up quite late during the weekend so I tend to have a good breakfast and skip lunch, but last Saturday me and my flatmates had a friend over in the morning, so I decided to cook something not too complicated but very tasty at the same time.

The rule for lunch was “No pasta, please!” which may sound weird for Italians, but we had so many pasta meals recently that we were quite fed up with it. Hence, I chose to prepare a nice risotto.

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INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 9 handfuls of risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli varieties)
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Brie cheese wedge
  • 1 garlic clove
  • bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 glass of white wine
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable stock granules (or 1 cube)

Roughly chop both the onion and the courgettes. Pour two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the onion. On a medium heat, let it fry until golden and then add the courgettes. Fry them for a couple of minutes and then add the rice. Let it toast until the grains become translucent, add the white wine and simmer until reduced. Dissolve the stock in boiling water and add gradually to the rice. It should be ready in about 16-18 minutes.

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At the end, add the Brie chunks, a tablespoon of butter, the garlic finely chopped and the parsley. Stir everything in, cover with a lid and let it set for five minutes. This is particularly important for a good risotto. The melting ingredients (cheese and butter, generally) should be added at last to add extra flavour and texture, what in Italian is called mantecatura.

There you go, a tasteful and filling main is ready to serve!

There are two things that in my opinion should be pointed out about risottos:

1. Quality of rice. Yes, not every rice will do the job. Especially parboiled rice. The key to a good creamy risotto is the starch that is released during the cooking. Parboiled rice doesn’t have that starch so it’s almost impossible to have a creamy risotto (unless you add cream, but that’s not the point)

2. As Italians say, risotto must be loved. You can’t just pour all the ingredients in the pan, turn on the burner and then leave until it’s ready, not even if you use a non-sticky pan. Risotto must be constantly stirred and tossed and the stock should added gradually as soon as it gets absorbed by the grains.

With these two simple rules, you’ll be sure your risotto is going to be a success!!


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