Have you ever noticed that some of the tastiest meals are made from the most humble ingredients? Today I made one of our favourite store cupboard lunches, Faux Risotto and Bogus Breadstix!
Did you just stifle a yawn? OK so they don't look very exciting but they really are yummy and economical, too. All of the best restaurants have risotto on the menu so after trying a few out, including a spelt risotto at River Cottage Canteen, I thought I'd try making one at home. You know what? Making risotto is easy!
The trickiest part is finding proper risotto rice, but the larger supermarkets usually have it in stock. Traditional risotto usually has white wine and Parmesan cheese in it...but since we don't have those ingredients I've made a few substitutions. That's why I called it Faux Risotto! Don't worry, it's still delicious.
Here are the ingredients I used to make Faux Risotto for two:
75 grams or 1/3 cup arborio rice per person
3 cups chicken stock or stock make from a good stock cube
1 large onion- chopped
1 clove garlic - minced
1-2 Tablespoons of canola or olive oil
1 heaped Tablespoon Cream Cheese
left over roast chicken cut into cubes
fresh chives- finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
I find it's best to have all the ingredients prepared, the stock simmering and the rice measured out before I start. Keep the stock simmering all through the cooking process, if you need more liquid, just add a bit more water to the stock.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil, add the chopped onion and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes or until the onion starts to soften and becomes slightly translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour in the arborio rice and stir to coat the grains of rice in oil.
Add one ladle of simmering stock, bring the rice and stock mixture to a simmer and stir constantly until the liquid is nearly absorbed by the rice. Repeat the process, gradually adding a ladle of stock at a time while stirring constantly until the rice is soft and cooked. It will probably take about 15 to 20 minutes. Don't rush and keep stirring, you want the rice to release it's starch to make the risotto creamy.
When the rice is nearly cooked, stir in the chopped chicken and the cream cheese, continue to cook over a low heat until the rice is soft and creamy. Serve the steaming risotto with a few chopped chives sprinkled over the top for extra taste and colour.
Oh I nearly forgot to tell you how to make Bogus Breadstix. This is great for using up 'less than fresh' bread or odds and ends of different loaves. Cut thick slices of bread from your loaf then cut them into rectangular pieces so they sort of look like bread sticks.
Butter the bread liberally and sprinkle the buttered sides with garlic granules. Place on a baking sheet and cook in a hot oven (200C-400F) for about 5 minutes or until they are toasty and golden.
Bogus Breadstix are great with chili, pasta, summer salads and risotto!
Now you know how to make Faux Risotto, experiment with different flavours. bacon and petite pois peas are a fantastic combination, or go veggie with butternut squash... chorizo is good...well, you get the idea. It all seems a lot more exciting now!