This week we have special request from Will for green pea risotto. I made a non-vegetarian version, but you can easily leave out the meaty ingredients and it will still be 100% terrific.

Here’s what you need.

1.5 litres of stock, any kind. I used chicken and it cost $5.80

1 lemon, and some fresh basil (we had the former sitting about, and the latter is a potplant).

3 shallots (dunno how much they cost, they’ve been in the pantry for yonks).

Maybe 25g of butter (but we had none, and used half tablespoon of olivani).

2 or 3 cloves of garlic.

Maybe a cup and a half of frozen peas. (again, already in the freezer)

400g of rice. Try to use arborio if you can. This much cost me $2.15

2 glasses of white wine (about 400ml). Doesn’t have to be flash. I used some we had sitting about, probably cost around $2.50.

And the pricey one. 120g of parmesan, $3.30.

So it’s roughly $15, and is actually 4 serves! That’s less than $4 per person!

Risotto is a great dish, and easy to make. The main thing to remember is to heat your stock, and don’t neglect the dish. And here we go.

You’ll want to make sure you do your preparation properly. We had 500ml of stock frozen from another night, so I popped it into a pot, and tipped the rest of the stock in. You need to heat the stock, and keep it on a low simmer while the risotto is cooking. This is essential. If the stock is cold it slows the cooking and makes it harder for the rice to absorb the liquid.

While the stock is heating, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Grate 120g of parmesan cheese and set it aside.

You’ll want to heat the peas, and when they’re warm either mash or blend them. Don’t mash them all. The blended peas will give the risotto flavour and colour, and the whole peas texture. Set these aside as well.

We also had some bacon in the fridge, so I roughly chopped it. I then set aside 400ml of the wine.

Next, juice one lemon, and roughly chop the basil. Set aside with all the other ingredients.

You’ll want to carefully slice the shallots and garlic and add them to the medium-warm pan with perhaps a tablespoon of olive oil. When the onion starts to soften, add the bacon bits. Again, the bacon isn’t compulsory.

When the bacon is starting to brown, but not burn, add the rice to the dish. The trick here is to stir the rice well until it starts to warm up. Then, to slow down the cooking, add the wine. Keep heating the pan and stirring the rice until the wine has almost completely evaporated.

Once the wine is gone, start adding the stock. Ladle in the stock one spoonful at a time, and keep stirring. When the rice has begun to dry out, but not completely dry out, add another ladle. This is the most important part of the risotto. Just pay attention and keep stirring, adding stock, stirring.

When the stock is almost all gone, add a healthy pinch of salt, and a good dose of freshly ground black pepper.

As you can see in the picture above right, the rice will have begun to swell, but should have a slight crunchiness when you try a little. Don’t worry if you think the rice is cooked and you still have stock left. The amount of stock isn’t as important as the texture of the rice. If you run out of stock, use hot water out of the kettle.

When the texture is right, you should be able to make a gap in the rice and have it remain dry for a little while. When it gets like that, you’re ready to add the remainder of the ingredients.

Add a little butter or spread, the lemon juice, the shredded basil, and the partially-blended peas. Mix this lot through the cooked rice.

Once this is mixed in, add the parmesan cheese and mix. But, only enough to spread the cheese throughout. It’s still good to have some chunks of cheesey goodness in there.

Flatten down the rice once you’ve mixed in the cheese, then pop a lid on the dish. Then leave the pan for maybe 2 minutes. This gives the cheese time to melt in, and the flavours to blend a little.

And then you’re done! Serve and enjoy. It’s an extremely delicious dish and one that’s as good on the second day.