A creamy vegetarian rice dish with a crust of melted cheese and breadcrumbs. Perfect for a cold night. The only problem, consistent with the technology, is the fact that the bullion takes forever to absorb, and the required stubborn stirring engages some really dedicated resources.. Well worth the effort, though!
I appropriated the concept from Nigel Slater (the Guardian?) – and all the applause must go to him, deservedly.
• small handful each of basil, dill and parsley,
• 100ml of olive oil,
• finely chopped spring onion – or, when the spring has nor sprung, i use 1/2 of a shallot,
• 500ml of vegetable stock,
• 200g of arborio rice,
• two balls of mozzarella,
• good handful of breadcrumbs.
- Take basil, dill and parsley, and blitz with olive oil and chopped spring onion
- Warm vegetable stock in a pan.
- In a medium-sized saucepan cook the herbs and onion
- Add rice and then, almost immediately, a small cup of hot vegetable stock.
- Continue stirring over a medium heat until the liquid has been almost entirely absorbed, then add another and continue the process, stirring and adding stock until it is all gone and you have a rich, creamy risotto.
- Tip the rice into a baking dish, then add mozzarella, broken into small pieces,
- Scatter with breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven (200C/400F) until the cheese has melted.
- Give it a minute or two out to settle of the oven before you serve it.
This is a meatless version, but if you replace the vegetable stock with chicken stock, you will get a truly rich, creamy finish. Chacun à son goût.
You can serve it as a risotto before you add the cheese and crumb crust.
Or one could save a little of the herb oil to spoon over the surface before baking it.
Better yet, make a herb butter instead, by mashing the chopped herbs into 50g of butter instead of using the oil.