I’ve been waiting for the day that Weasel would lose her year-long vegetable stand-off. It turns out her sister enjoying some broccoli put an end to it. Mwahaha. Which vegetable? The one I would have voted least likely just hours ago – the dreaded pepper.
To start with I decided to take out a neglected old standard, my book I learned to cook Italian food from. After a shock at arriving for a year in Venice and not having cooked pasta before (no, opening a can of Ragu and dumping it on some spaghetti boiled within an inch of its life, Kraft Mac & Cheese and Hamburger Helper do, most definitely, not count), I ran to a book shop and picked up Ricettario Italiano. No, it isn’t a work of genius. It’s not got any photos and it’s got some seriously random recipes, but it was a start. Flipping through today, I came across a risotto that I had all-bar-one of the ingredients for. And who had laurel in their house anyways?
Whilst the girls distracted eachother, through mostly standing the hell in my way, I set about making Risotto del Fattore (Farmer’s Risotto).
Ingredients for 2 adults and a toddler: One courgette (skinned for the toddler and cubed), one small red pepper (finely chopped), 2 cups of rice (they call for arborio, but I only had basmati), one chicken stock cube, 2 large chicken thighs (cut up small), a good swig of red wine, 2 cloves garlic, grano padano (or parmigian if you’re feeling flash), half an onion (that’s what I had in the fridge, you could always use a whole one finely chopped), a handful of parsley, olive oil for frying and salt & pepper to taste.
Step one: Check if my parsley had managed to kill itself yet. As it hadn’t totally succeeded in dying yet, we even had fresh parsley! See, a couple of green bits left.
Step 2: Fry off chicken, veg and garlic until chicken is browned. Add rice and wine to get a quick fry, stirring well.
Step 3: Add stock and lots of water (don’t overdo it, keep adding more as necessary until rice is cooked).
Step 4: When rice is cooked and water is boiled down (we can only pray to the god of risottos that these 2 things will happen simultaneously), stir in grated cheese, parsley and seasoning. Let it sit to sort of gel together before serving.
Weasel’s portion had mostly rice and chicken, but with some undetectable courgettes and the odd bits of pepper. She of course asked for an ingredient list and we had to go through them all honestly. In the end she was super brave and tried the pepper, and gasp, enjoyed it. This didn’t stop her repeatedly calling it a carrot despite my many corrections. The Ninja was given mostly rice with courgettes as a side-dish to her evening’s apple sauce (nice, well thought-out combo right?) and loved it.
We will be mostly eating nothing but this dish for the next 6 months.