So it is fair to say we eat a lot of risotto in our house. It’s wheat free so I can eat it, it is easy to cook with small people “helping you” and my family literally devour it. If you don’t finish your portion quick someone else will ask for it “More, More”.
The first few times I cooked risotto it was a disaster. A plate of overcooked rice with peas and cheese on top. As a student I didn’t think it was too bad a meal, however looking back it makes me wince. I now know where I went wrong – I used the wrong ingredients. Partially due to being on a budget but mainly because I didn’t know any better. A good risotto needs the right ingredients and a bit of love. You don’t need to spend a fortune, in fact I have a top tip below on how to save pennies!
Firstly if you are using rice for risotto, use the right kind. Your normal easy cook/basmati/long grain will not cut the mustard here. Get risotto rice. It may cost a bit more, but I buy a few packs when it is on offer and I also use pearl barley to reduce the cost.
Secondly use a good stock. This is vital for it to taste good. If you can get away from that salty stock cube and make your own. Each time we roast a chicken I make stock which then goes in the freezer for risotto’s.
Thirdly find a spoon you like to stir with and make sure you pop back and stir it regularly. It will help you see when it is ready and usually makes me remember to add all the extra flavours in.
This risotto was made with all pearl barley. I sometimes mix risotto rice and pearl barley which adds wholegrains in, brings in a nutty texture and brings down the cost all in one go.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200g pearl barley
- 150ml white wine
- Decent chicken stock, make up to about 500ml
- 100ml semi skimmed milk
- 1 head broccoli
- 80g stilton
- 400g salmon
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- black pepper
- Heat the olive oil and stir in the pearl barley. Leave to cook for a few minutes.
- Add the wine, stir and let it absorb.
- Meanwhile chop the broccoli into small pieces.
- Now add the broccoli to the pan and stir in.
- Gradually add a bit of the stock at a time, stirring regularly and letting the barley absorb the stock.
- Add the stilton and let this melt in.
- After 10 minutes add the salmon, chopped into small cubes.
- When the stock is finished add a little milk to give it more creaminess. You could use cream here but I don't personally.
- Whilst it is all cooking add the lemon juice, nutmeg, black pepper and parsley - stir some more.