I have been asked if I can post up a recipe for an easy to cook risotto. During the winter months, this dish is something that I serve up every couple of weeks. Most recipes would have you trying to cook your rice in one pot whilst keeping another pot of hot stock bubbling away, my recipe doesn't! This handy tip was picked up from Marco Pierre White who believes that using stock at room temperature allows the rice to absorb more of flavour as it cooks.
Remember that the key to a good risotto is to keep the contents in the pan moving.
- 90g arborio rice
- 30g pearl barley
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 small leeks, chopped
- 125ml white wine or dry sherry
- 400ml chicken stock at room temperature - I use Knorr stock pots
- 2 chicken breasts
- 25g grated Parmegianno or Grana Padano
- Squeeze of lemon juice
Heat a wide bottomed pan, add a good glug of olive oil and heat until smoking then add the garlic and shallot. Reduce the heat and keep stirring, making sure that they don't burn.
Once the shallot is almost translucent, add the arborio rice and pearl barley and stir. Keep stirring and make sure that the rice and barley are coated with oil.
After a few minutes the rice will start to crack and you should notice a slightly nutty aroma, at this point pour in the wine, and keep stirring.
Once the wine has been absorbed, you can start to add the stock in small amounts, always making sure that the all of the liquid has been absorbed before adding more, however be careful not to boil the liquid. This will result in the stock evaporating too quickly and the rice not cooking through properly.
At this stage add the chopped leeks to the pan along with your first addition of stock.
As the rice is cooking you will have time to cook the chicken breasts. Butterfly the chicken, season well making sure to give a good grinding of black pepper.
Heat a frying pan, add a little olive oil and when hot place the chicken in the pan. Cook for 5-6 mins before turning, cook for a further 4-5 mins until the chicken is cooked through.
Once cooked , remove from the pan and leave to rest.
During this time you should have added the last of the stock and now have a creamy risotto. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the grated Parmegianno or Grana Padano. Add a couple of knobs of butter to the risotto, place a lid on the pan and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
Just before serving, squeeze in a little lemon juice and stir in some more ground black pepper.
Serve in a bowl with the sliced chicken layered across the top before adding a final grating of your favourite Italian cheese.