“This is the coming together of three beautiful ingredients – mozzarella, basil and courgette – to make an oozy, cheesy, scrumptious risotto. White wine gives any risotto a beautiful depth of flavour, but don’t worry if you haven’t got any, swap in the same amount of extra stock instead – it will still taste fantastic. This recipe includes two of your 5-a-day, so it’s comfort food that still delivers on the nutrition front – you’ve got to love it! ”
- 1 large onion
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 knob of unsalted butter
- olive oil
- 2 small courgettes (300g)
- 800 ml organic vegetable stock
- 1 bunch of fresh basil
- 40 g Italian hard cheese
- 300 g arborio rice
- 200 ml white wine , optional
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 2 x 125 g balls of buffalo mozzarella
- Peel the onion and garlic, trim the celery and finely chop all three. Place a large saucepan over a medium-low heat.
- Place the butter in the hot pan with the onion, garlic and celery, a splash of oil, and a splash of water. Reduce the heat to low and cook for around 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Trim the courgettes, slice lengthways into quarters, then chop into small ½cm chunks and put to one side.
- Fill a medium saucepan with 800ml water. Add the stock cube and bring to the boil over a high heat, stirring to dissolve, then turn the heat down to low.
- Pick and reserve the basil leaves, then add the stalks to the pan of stock. Finely grate the Italian hard cheese.
- Once the vegetables are very soft but not browned, add the rice to the pan.
- Stir and fry the rice for 1 minute until translucent, then add the wine (if using) and keep stirring until it has been absorbed by the rice.
- Turn the heat under the rice up to medium, then add a ladleful of hot stock, avoiding the basil stalks – these are there to add flavour but not to be eaten!
- Stir constantly and continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, waiting for the rice to soak it all up before adding the next ladleful. Continue until you’ve used two-thirds of the stock.
- Finely chop the basil leaves and the chilli (deseed the chilli if you prefer a milder heat).
- Stir the chopped courgette into the stock, and keep adding it (courgette and all) until the rice is cooked and the risotto has a nice oozy consistency – if you run out of stock, use boiling water.
- Take the pan of risotto off the heat. Tear the mozzarella balls into pieces and stir into the pan with half the basil.
- Stir through half the grated Italian hard cheese, then season to taste with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Cover with a lid and allow to sit for two minutes.
- Divide the risotto between four plates, scatter over the remaining cheese, basil and the fresh chilli, then tuck in!
Source: Jamie Oliver