I make no claims about the authenticity of my risotto. I have an American Italian friend and it makes me nervous when I cook in front of her. I have to keep her up the other end of the room with a large glass of wine to try and dull her senses. Not that she ever interferes! She’s too lovely. But it’s like having a food-based celebrity in the room. I get all fumble-fingered. Anyway, risotto is a regular in our house because it can be made from almost anything and it doesn’t take long, especially when you make it a lot. Midweek autopilot cooking. Here I have paired the leftover chicken from the weekend’s roast and some frozen peas. I love frozen peas. They instantly add a beautiful pop of colour and taste and freshness to all sorts of dishes, without having to venture into a supermarket. A lifesaver before my weekly vegetable delivery. My child told me this was ‘scrumptious’ this week. I thank you, my work here is done.
Roast chicken and pea risotto
Prep time 5 minutes Cook time 20 minutes Makes 1 adult and 1 small child
- 1 tbsp olive oil or 15g butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 100g risotto rice (I use arborio but any of the usual suspects will do)
- splash of white wine (optional)*
- 500ml chicken stock, heated and kept warm
- roast chicken, coarsely shredded
- 2 handfuls of frozen peas
- grated parmesan, to taste
- dash of lemon juice
- salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan (perhaps non-stick if you want to be sure it won’t) and sweat the finely chopped onion, over a low heat, for 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir thoroughly, coating the grains with the oil or butter and cook for a minute until they are translucent. Turn the heat up a smidgen to a low/medium and add a slosh of white wine, if using. Otherwise, add a portion of the hot stock to cover the rice (approximately ¼), stir well and then leave to bubble gently until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Keep an eye on the rice, as you don’t want it to stick, but you don’t want to add more liquid until the right moment. The top of the rice should look a bit sticky when it needs more liquid. Add another portion of stock, stir, and leave again. After the third edition has evaporated (approximately 15 minutes), test the rice by eating a few grains. You’re looking for it to not be crunchy, but not disintegrating. When it is almost there add the frozen peas and a little more stock and mix. After a couple of minutes add the cooked chicken and stir well. Keep stirring occasionally for a few more minutes, until the chicken is well heated through. Test the rice again, and when you’re sure it is done, remove the pan from the heat and grate in the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Add a dash of lemon juice. Taste again and add more parmesan, salt and pepper as necessary. When you’re happy transfer to warmed bowls, grate a little more parmesan on top and serve.
*Now C is a little older I will add the odd splash of wine to dishes but I think I’m fairly sensible. Please see this list of alcohol burn off rates during cooking to make the best choice for your family