This one is based around a seasonal ingredient, although this dish is something that would go down well all year round. I know I’ve mentioned the Waitrose Magazine on here a few times before (I promise, they’re not paying me! If only…), but one of my favourite features is where they list the seasonal ingredients in Britain each month with some recipe ideas to go with them. Now while I like to get seasonal ingredients, I’ll put my hands up and admit I just buy whatever is available in the supermarket all year round as well. So what I really like about this feature is that it helps me to think outside of the box, perhaps making me think about an ingredient that isn’t something I’d automatically pick up in my weekly shop. And by trying these recipes or using this as inspiration, I might end up up with a new ingredient in my weekly shop too!
Like all Italian classics when done well, this is about using simple and fresh ingredients. No frills or fancy ingredients, just good food. This red pepper risotto goes a lovely red/orange colour and I love that there’s no shop-bought paste, tinned ingredients or even tomatoes to be found in creating this. A trick that I’ve learnt from this recipe and will definitely be experimenting with again, is blending up some of the peppers to make a paste. I’ve actually made this risotto twice this month (that’s a good review in itself right?) and didn’t find it took on the colour I was hoping for the first time. To remedy this, one of the adaptations I’ve made to the original recipe is using 2/3 of the peppers for the paste, which seemed to do the trick!
So the recipe here serves 4, and tastes delicious as leftovers the next 1-2 days as well. Enjoy!
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 romano peppers, deseeded, quartered and finely sliced
- 1 cup/175g of Arborio risotto rice
- 100ml dry white wine
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 25g grated parmigiano reggiano (or any parmesan style cheese), plus extra to serve
- 25g unsalted butter
- black pepper
- 100g rocket, to serve
How to make it…
- In a large pan, heat the oil and add the onion, celery, garlic and 1/3 of the chopped peppers. Fry on a low heat for 10 minutes or until softened, stirring often. Blend the rest of the peppers to a rough paste with a splash of water, and leave to one side.
- Stir the rice into a pan for around 2 minutes. Then add the wine, stirring frequently and waiting until it has evaporated. Then add the red pepper paste along with 2 ladels of stock. Stirring frequently, wait until this stock has been absorbed before adding the next ladel. Continue stirring and adding stock in this way until it has all been absorbed, and when the rice has softened but retained a little bite. This process can take up to 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in the parmesan cheese, butter and a little black pepper.
- To serve, add a small handful of rocket to each plate, grate over a little more parmesan and add final seasoning. You may also like to add a final splash of olive oil.