September 2019

Emergency Risotto


6 garlic cloves
2 onions
400g kale
Handful of walnuts
200g diced pancetta
Butter or olive oil, for frying
400g carnaroli or arborio rice
Above 600ml chicken stock (or 1 chicken stock pot/cube dissolved in 600ml boiling water)
About 300ml white wine
About 60g Parmesan
Dash of lemon juice (optional)
Salt and black pepper


Start with your garlic: chop it as finely as you can manage, and then a little finer (do not grate it). Finely chop your onions too. Wash and shred the kale. Squeeze the walnuts in your fists to break them up a bit.

Now take your biggest frying pan - a deep one is ideal. Fry the pancetta in a dry pan over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it renders its fat and starts to turn golden. Throw the garlic and onions into the pancetta fat and cook for about 10 minutes; keep an eye on it - you might need to add a bit of oil or butter.

If using home-made stock, bring it to the boil in a small saucepan; if using a stock pot or cube, put the kettle on.

When the onions are translucent, and everything smells good, add the rice and plenty of black pepper. Stir the dry rice through the soft onions, then pour over just enough stock to cover. Stir occasionally; let the rice absorb the stock. Add the wine. Wait. Stir. Add some more stock. It will stick if you don't keep stirring it, but it almost certainly won't matter too much. Wait. Stir. Taste. Add stock. You can carry on like this for quite some time. 

After 20 minutes, you can start to taste - before that, the rice will be unpleasantly chalky. Grate in the Parmesan and taste again - you may need salt, or a little lemon juice to cut the fat.

When the rice is done to your taste, or just a moment before, throw in the kale. A last splash of white wine, if you like. Lid on for 5 minutes. Stir. Throw in the broken-up walnuts. Stir. Spoon into bowls. Add a last grind of black pepper, and a brief twist of lemon juice.

Risotto 3 1200x675