Once you master the basics of risotto, the combinations are only limited by your imagination. This basic version will have you well on your way
- 1½ l vegetable stock
- 50g butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 300g risotto rice
- 1 small glass white wine
- 50g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), half finely grated, half shaved
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 handfuls soft herbs, including basil, chervil, chives, half chopped, half left whole
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
MethodIn a separate pan, melt half the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the onions and sweat gently for 8-10 mins until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally. Stir the rice into the onions until completely coated in the butter, then stir continuously until the rice is shiny and the edges of the grain start to look transparent.
- 500g pack gnocchi
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100ml double cream
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 130g pack smoked pancetta cubes
- 100g spinach
- zest ½ lemon
- 25g Parmesan, grated, plus extra for serving
- 25g toasted pine nut
- Cook the gnocchi following pack instructions, then drain. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of the oil in a small pan and fry the garlic, then add the cream and a good grating of nutmeg. Put to one side.
- Heat 2 tsp of the remaining oil in a frying pan and cook the pancetta until crisp. Add the gnocchi and fry until it starts to turn golden, adding a little more oil if it begins to stick. Stir in the spinach, lemon zest and seasoning.
- Stir the Parmesan into the cream sauce. Spoon the gnocchi onto plates, drizzle over the sauce and scatter with pine nuts. Serve with extra Parmesan.
- 50ml extra virgin olive oil
- juice 1 lemon
- 300g runner bean, stringed and sliced
- 50g walnut half, roughly chopped
- 50g bag wild rocket
- 25g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
- Mix the olive oil with the lemon juice, season and set aside. Boil a large pan of salted water, then cook the beans for about 8 mins until tender. Drain well and leave to cool a little.
- Toss the beans with half the dressing, the walnuts and rocket. Place in a serving dish and scatter with the Parmesan, then drizzle over the remaining dressing.
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 4 aubergines, cut into long, 5mm thick slices
- 85g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), freshly grated
- 20g pack basil, leaves torn
- 1 egg, beaten
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. In a shallow pan, mix together the garlic and 4 tbsp of the olive oil. Cook over a high heat for 3 mins, tip in the tomatoes, then simmer for 8 mins, stirring every now and then. Stir in the tomato purée.
- Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan until very hot. Brush a few of the aubergines with a little oil, then add to the pan. Cook over a high heat until well browned and cooked through, about 5-7 mins. Turn them halfway through cooking. Lift onto kitchen paper and do the next batch.
- When all the aubergines are cooked, lay a few of them in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then spoon over some sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and basil leaves. Add seasoning, then repeat this process with the remaining ingredients. Finally, pour the egg over the top, sprinkle over a little more Parmesan, then bake for 20 mins or until the topping is golden.