Zucchini risotto

I often cook a risotto for a weekend lunch. This one’s a simple green flecked risotto to warm you up in winter.

20g butter
1 cup of arborio rice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 zucchini (courgette), grated
handful of fresh herbs (parsley and basil), chopped roughly
sprinkle of dried oregano
1 ½ cups of vegetable stock

  1. Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan and maintain on a low simmer.
  2. Melt some butter in a second saucepan and gently cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic.
  3. Add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Coat all grains of rice with the butter.
  4. Add some vegetable stock to just cover the rice and increase the heat to medium.
  5. Add the grated zucchini, herbs and stir in.
  6. Cook, stirring, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  7. Gradually add more stock waiting until each new batch has been absorbed. Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot!
  8. Serve after 25 minutes, or when the rice is al dente.

Serves 2.

Variation: Swap the zucchini for one diced red capsicum and one grated carrot.

Spinach risotto

Actually this could be more accurately called a spinach and roasted vegetable risotto. It was a winner for both of us, so no doubt we’ll be having it again soon. Big M calls it ‘a choice vegetarian dish’. He’s been watching Jamie in his mismatched stripy beanies.

spinach, one bag or small tin
20g butter
1 cup of arborio rice
1 red onion, chopped
1 courgette
1 capsicum
1 ½ cups of vegetable stock

  1. Cook the spinach in some boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and finely chop. Set aside.
  2. Heat griddle until very hot. Sprinkle some olive oil on one side of the capsicum and the courgette. Place in pan oil side down. Turn over the courgette after 5 minutes. Turn the capsicum over after 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan and maintain on a low simmer.
  4. Melt some butter in a second saucepan and gently cook the onion until translucent.
  5. Add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Coat all grains of rice with the butter.
  6. Add some vegetable stock to just cover the rice and increase the heat to medium.
  7. Cook, stirring, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Gradually add more stock waiting until each new batch has been absorbed. Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot!
  9. After 25 minutes, or when the rice is al dente, mix in the courgette and capsicum. Then add the spinach.
  10. Stir for 2 minutes and serve.

Serve with Quick Roasted Tomatoes. (optional)

Written for Joelen’s Culinary Adventures – Foodie Films: Big Night – Italian!

Tapas (Spanish)

lamb

Cooked for the Spain entry in the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

Cordero al limon – Lamb with Lemon

250g lean lamb, chunks
225g canned pineapple slices
10 cloves
1 lemon, halved
5 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
a sprig of rosemary
½ small onion, finely chopped
sweet smoked Spanish paprika, pinch

  1. Cut the lamb into 2cm cubes, put in a bowl, cover with the pineapple slices and let marinate overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  3. Stick the cloves into the lemon and put it in a roasting dish. Add the garlic, oil and rosemary. Remove the lamb from the pineapple and rub in the onion and paprika.
  4. Add the lamb to a roasting dish and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the dish from the oven, cover with foil and set aside for 10 minutes.

Patatas bravas – Potatoes in Tomato Sauce

3 tbsp olive oil
600g potatoes, cut into 2 cm cubes
1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp sherry
125g canned chopped tomatoes
½ tsp freshly grated orange zest
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan, add the potatoes and mix well. Cook in batches for 8 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Add in batches the potato back to the pan for another 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in another frying pan, add the onion, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sherry, then simmer for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, orange zest, sugar, parsley and bay leaf.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes. If required, add some water to stop the mixture thickening too much.
  5. Transfer the cooked potatoes to a serving bowl, pour over the tomato sauce and mix well.

VARIATION – Add ½ tsp dried chili flakes to add more heat to the dish.

TIP – This dish can be made a day in advance and reheated before serving.

Pisto manchego – Courgette, Tomato and Capsicum Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 courgette, chopped
2 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
1 red capsicum, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
sweet Spanish paprika, pinch
salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, courgette, tomatoes, capsicum, oregano and paprika.
  2. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

VARIATION – Add 50g jamon serrano, finely chopped and cook with the onion.

TIP – This dish can be made a day in advance and reheated before serving.

All dishes serve 2.