On Saturday I posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook of a risotto I had cooked for myself with the words - "Tracey away. Kids out. Just me and my own homemade pea and parmesan risotto. Oh, and my SpinCycle mixtape, and a glass of Alsace. Nice. Little things." The reaction was so strong I've decided to post he recipe.
PEA AND PARMESAN RISOTTO
with my SpinCycle playlist on Spotify
Cooking time: about 30 mins all in
2 tbsp olive oil*
10 gms butter*
Half a medium red onion
1 garlic clove, peeled but not sliced
150 gms uncooked arborio rice
Half a glass of white wine (Alsace is nice)
750 ml chicken or vegetable stock
25 gms grated Parmesan cheese
Handful of frozen peas
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
Ben Watt's SpinCycle playlist on Spotify
Find Ben Watt's SpinCycle on Spotify, some decent speakers and click on Shuffle Play.
Boil a kettle, make the stock, finely chop the onion, peel the garlic, weigh the rice, grate the Parmesan, chop the parsley (if using it) and settle into the playlist.
Add the oil, butter, garlic clove and finely chopped onion to a wide low-rimmed 11-inch saucepan. Heat and cook through on a medium heat for 10 mins, stirring regularly, until onions start to soften.
Add dry rice and stir in for a couple of minutes.
Add white wine and stir for a couple of minutes until almost all absorbed into rice.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add 1 ladle of stock. At this point you can relax a bit and enjoy the playlist. Just keep stirring and listening, drawing figure-of-eight patterns in the rice in time with the music, tapping the wooden spoon along with the drums. The constant zoned-out stirring is also an essential key to the cooking.
After a few minutes the stock will be absorbed. Keep adding ladlefuls one by one like this, stirring all the time, watching the liquid absorb. Quite therapeutic really. Shrug off the day. Sing along. Turn the volume up a bit.
By the time you've added 500-600 mls of stock (approx 15 mins) the rice will be nearly cooked and getting creamy. Taste it. If still a bit gritty add a touch more stock and keep stirring and tasting until just right.
Root around in the rice and find and remove garlic clove (optional).
Finally, when rice consistency and bite is just right, add grated Parmesan, chopped parsley and handful of frozen peas and stir in until melted into the rice.
Turn off the heat, add lid or plate to saucepan and allow to sweat for 2 mins before serving.
Pour a glass of wine. Eat. Listen. Drink. Enjoy.
* You can use a little more oil and butter if you want but since my illness in 1992 and subsequent dietary restrictions I tend to cook quite low-fat these days. What illness? For more on this see my book, 'Patient'