Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Risotto: The Food of the Gods (Or Something)

Ever since discovering the amazing thing that is Rice Cooker Risotto, I've been making full use of my rice cooker and churning out quite a few of these quick, delicious meals. Risotto is becoming a staple of my diet, and given it's the middle of the year where 'Busy' becomes far too much a way of life, it is my manna from heaven.

To quote Gershwin, 'S'Wonderful! S'Marvellous!'

I haven't cooked a lot over the last two months because I've been busy shuttling to and fro across various parts of the city to rehearse for a musical that just completed its run this weekend. I've also been staying some nights with a friend, which means I've not had time to do much more than step into my kitchen, open the fridge, grab a bottle of water and run.

By way of penance, and because this is such a lovely recipe it would be a crime to keep it to myself, here is one of my favourite ever rice cooker risotto concoctions. It is fabulous with a handful of salad greens or spring greens, and satisfies my comfort food cravings like nothing else can. I might actually toss in a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil next time, but that might overwhelm the delicate flavour - we'll see!

Rice Cooker Chicken Leek Risotto
Serves: 2 hungry people for 1 meal, or 1 person for 3 meals

1 cup Arborio rice
½ or ¾ cup hard cider (or just use white wine, cider is what I had)
2 cups good chicken broth
½ a large leek, sliced into rings
½ a carrot, diced
1 small stick celery, diced
½ tablespoon olive oil
Good handful grated parmesan cheese


1. Drizzle olive oil into rice cooker pot, and turn the cooker on to ‘Cook’ so it heats the oil up. When the oil is warm and fragrant (this should take only about a minute or so), put the Arborio rice into the pot and stir to coat with oil for about 30 seconds. Add in the leeks and stir into rice.

2. Add the cider or wine into the pot with the rice and stir a couple of times. Then add the chicken broth, the carrots and celery, stir well, and put the rice cooker lid on. Make sure the cooker’s turned on, then leave it to its own devices.

3. When the risotto is done and the rice cooker goes to the ‘Warm’ setting, let it sit for 10 minutes before turning off the power. Stir in the parmesan cheese (you can leave it out if you’d rather, it still tastes great).

4. Serve with a good handful of nice fresh salad leaves. Can also be garnished with parsley and pistachio-pepper flakes (recipe below).

Pistachio-Pepper Flakes

5-6 pistachio nuts
About 10-15 black peppercorns

Put peppercorns into a mortar and pound until coarsely cracked. Add the pistachio nuts and keep pounding until the nuts are almost a coarse powder. Store in an airtight container and use to season food.

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