Pea & Mint Risotto with Goats Curd & Chorizo
Don't be daunted by Masterchef infamously referring to risotto as the 'death dish'. It really isn't all that difficult, and who cares if it isn't the perfect consistency every time you make it! As long as you don't burn it or turn it into a seriously sloppy porridge, then I'm sure everyone will survive. I would even make a bet that they'll be coming back for seconds too.
I love a risotto in winter. They're versatile and warm your soul, but don't only save them for the cooler months. This risotto is a little different, because it works well in spring as the weather warms up. The velvety goats curd is lifted with the fresh mint and beautiful peas, while seared chorizo contrasts everything else in the dish with some spice and crunch.
Give this a go. I guarantee your tastebuds will LOVE the flavour. It is the perfect dish for a family or couple, with leftovers for lunch!
Serves 4 and might result in leftovers - depending on appetite!!
2 Spanish chorizo (hot or mild, depending on taste), cut in half lengthways then sliced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 fennel buld, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled, bruised and finely chopped
1.5 cups of arborio rice
1/4-1/3 cup dry white wine (optional, but adds great flavour)
1.5L chicken stock
1 packet (approximately 120g) soft goats cheese/curd, cut in half
1 cup frozen peas
1 bunch of mint, remove leaves and finely slice (this should be about 1-1.5 cups)
Sea salt and black pepper
Never use a cheap and nasty wine (that you wouldn't drink) to cook with. Always use something that you would happily drink, because that same quality is going to come through in the flavour of your meal!
I use my beloved Le Creuset for this dish. If you are lucky enough to have one of these, or any other enamel pot, I find they're perfect. If not, any other non-stick pot or pan will be great.
Again, as with all of my recipes, read through the ingredients and take a bit of time to prepare everything first. Then all you will need to do is throw it all together as you go.
1. Pea & Mint Risotto w. Goats Curd (STEPS 1-4 and 6) - Pour the stock into a saucepan and keep on a medium heat.
2. Heat your large non-stick pot for the risotto on a medium to medium-high heat. Add a good dash of olive oil and the butter. As they melt add the onions and fennel and stir for a minute. As they become slightly transparent, add the garlic and stir until aromatic and make sure the pot isn't dry, leading to burning. Add the arborio rice and stir to coat in the oil/butter and evenly distribute the onion, fennel mixture. Cook the rice for about a minute until it begins to look slightly translucent.
NOTE: It is important that there is enough oil and butter (don't be scared) in the pan keeping everything moist. It is especially important again when the rice is added. Add extra if necessary when cooking the onions/fennel and again just before adding the rice.
3. Add the dash of dry white wine and stir it through the rice until it is evaporated. Once it has been absorbed, add the warm stock ladel by ladel, stirring to distribute it evenly. Allow it to bubble away and be absorbed by the rice each time. Stir it occasionally to avoid the rice sticking and burning to the base of the pan. Continue to do this until the rice is al dente/has a slight bite. Add a small additional half ladel of stock and stir it through and immediately turn off the heat and remove your pot from any remaining heat source (i.e. if you don't have a gas stove).
NOTE: Don't wait until the rice is soft as it will continue to absorb a little more fluid and soften as it rests. If you feel as though you will run out of stock before this occurs, add a little bit of water to your stock saucepan to stretch it a little further. Keep a little aside for this AND at the end of STEP 6, just in case.
4. When the risotto gets to this point and you have turned off the heat, stir half of your goats curd through, season to taste and allow it to rest for a few minutes while you quickly sear the chorizo.
5. Seared Chorizo (STEP 5) - place a paper towel on a plate. Heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick pan on high heat. When heated, sear the chorizo slices on both sides and set aside to drain on the paper towel.
6. Pea & Mint Risotto w. Goats Curd - While the chorizo is draining, add the peas and most of the mint (save some to garnish) to the risotto and stir through. The heat from the risotto will be enough to cook the peas perfectly. If the risotto appears dry, add another dash of stock and stir it through to loosen the rice.
For individual servings - Ladel the risotto into bowls and top with chorizo, crumbled goats curd, additional mint and the optional garnishes of lemon zest and parmesan/pecorino.
For a shared table meal - place the risotto on the table in it's pot with a ladel and place all extras and garnish options in bowls for people to help themselves. Make it go even further by throwing some crusty bread on the table too!
Writing this has made me hungry... I hope every last mouthful packs a delicious punch!
Definitely a white wine.
A crisp Sauvignon Blanc matches goats cheese well. Make sure you choose one with more 'minerally' characteristics to suit the creamy goats cheese.
If you're a bit 'done' with the flavour of Sauvignon Blanc's, try another fresh white such as a dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio
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