How to make risotto is a question that my friends have been asking me over the last few months. "Could you teach me how to make risotto?". I've loved cooking and eating risotto for over 20 years, and have a simple and easy recipe to make risotto. It's so easy to add your own twist and variation depending on your mood and what you have in the pantry or fridge. Here's a favourite risotto recipe of mine with lemon and courgette, zucchini to the Italian and Australian friends out there. It can also be suitable for both vegan and vegetarians by swapping out a few ingredients. I hope you enjoy my version of vegetarian risotto.

Ingredients  - Serves 2

  • 150g arborio rice
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped onion (green, red or white)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil/butter
  • 100ml  wine or lemon juice
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock (1 stock cube plus 500ml room temperature water)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of finely sliced courgette (1/4 or 1/2 circles depending on the size of the courgette)
  • season to taste with cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (plus some for serving)

Optional Spices

  • 1 clove crushed garlic (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons capers
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • chilli flakes
  • cracked black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the stock in a large saucepan and simmer. Finely chop the onion.
  2. In a separate large heavy based pan, heat the oil and over a low heat, add the chopped onion and sauté gently for a few minutes until soft, cover to quicken this step.
  3. Add the arborio rice and turn up the heat and lightly fry until translucent, be careful not to brown the rice.
  4. Add the wine or lemon juice and keep stirring. Any harsh alcohol flavours will disappear and leave a great flavour.
  5. Now begin to add your stock one ladle at a time. Turn the heat down to simmer so the rice is not cooking to fast.
  6. Keep adding the stock, a ladle at a time and stirring gently to encourage the creaminess. Ensure the liquid is absorbed before repeating until all the stock has been used. This should take 15-20 minutes.
  7. If you forgot to add the lemon or wine add it now, with the grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest and season with capers, chilli and black pepper.
  8. Add your vegetables and simmer on low for another few minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water now.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and place the lid on for 2 minutes. It should be al dente and not mushy and overcooked.

10. Serve with parmesan cheese and a side salad.