Everyone has that day where they (heaven forbid) don’t feel like cooking. Or they don’t have as much time as usual. Or, in my case, forgot to take the turkey mince out the freezer this morning. And everyone, in those situations, has a simple recipe they can fall back on that is quick and hassle-free.
While going through a “I can’t afford meat” stage in the early days of London, my friend Peanut and I discovered the joys of vegetarian cooking. Once we had passed the days of packet stir-fries and smash (oh yes, but at least it wasn’t baked beans on toast. Not that there is anything wrong with that…) we moved on to more adventurous dishes like chickpea curries and spicy risotto. Which is where I found my incredible, budget-proof, idiot-proof, vegetarian risotto.
This risotto recipe is adapted every time it’s used, and while making it at least once a fortnight I have only messed it up once. (Too much curry powder. Not nice.) It doesn’t have alcohol or cheese, but is still sticky and delicious. It definitely tastes healthy, but really naughty at the same time. You can add meat to the dish, and I have been known to add prawns and chorizo more often than not. You can also add any veg you have in the fridge. I would go as far as to say: as long as you have a bag of arborio rice, some stock and a carrot or two; you can make something tasty in 20 minutes!
Delicious vegetarian risotto – a lollcakes original!
This feeds 4 with leftovers. I am incapable of cooking for the right amount of people, and fear tiny portions…
2 cups arborio/risotto rice
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 big onion, finely diced. Any colour will do
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red chilli (can be omitted for sensitive tummies)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp mild curry powder (can be omitted, needs more paprika if so)
2 carrots, finely diced
2 courgettes, cubed
1 red capsicum, cubed
a handful mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
Fry the onion in olive oil on a low heat until soft and transparent. Add turmeric, paprika, curry powder, chilli and garlic and fry for a minute until fragrant. Add in rice, and fry for a minute. Add in stock and carrots and bring up to the boil. Once boiling, leave to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring after 5.
Add courgettes, capsicum and mushrooms; and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add in frozen peas, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes. The risotto should be sticky and the rice should be cooked. Dish into a nice big bowl and scoff!
– you can add any other veg you feel would be good, just add any hard veg in with the carrots and any soft veg in with the courgettes. You can add any cooked meat in at the end.