Risotto is meditative. It’s like a ritual. A short, delicious ritual. You ladle in stock, and stir. Ladle in stock, stir. Repeat.
I’m one of life’s obsessives; ideas or thoughts get stuck in my head and spin round and round. Right now is one of those times where darker thoughts have gotten lodged, and so I’m at a low ebb. Risotto is perfect for these times because you can get lost in it for just a little while, and turn your thoughts only to the stock, the rice and the stirring.
This risotto, in particular, is good for times of low ebb and tumbling thoughts. It’s spiked with lemon juice and zest, which is a sharp but somehow sunny taste, and there’s kale in it, so you can feel like you are looking after yourself properly. I always associate kale with being extra, effort-filled healthy for some reason – but it is good. There is also goat’s cheese, which, with all it’s milky, tangy creaminess, is one of my most favourite of foods. It’s the goat’s cheese (and the parmesan, of course), that makes this risotto extra comforting.
This is my self-care. This is me taking twenty minutes to stop, to stir, to get all caught up in the smell of hot stock and to mix cheese into rice until it is beautifully creamy. I’ve never gone in for the meditation or mindfulness stuff, really, but if I was going to it would all be based around risotto. It would be stirring, stirring, stirring, and then eating rice with a load of butter in it.
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock*
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- A big-ish knob of butter and a glug of oil
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup of white wine
- Zest of juice of 1 lemon
- A few handfuls of kale
- 3 rough tbsp soft goat's cheese, plus a little extra for garnish
- 2 rough tbsp of grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the stock in a saucepan. Have a ladle to hand.
- In a deep-ish frying pan over a medium to low heat, melt the butter and heat the oil together.
- Once the butter is doing a gentle bubble but not burning, add the onion and garlic. Stir to coat in the oil and butter and let it cook for a few minutes, until the onion starts to go clear. After a few minutes, add the thyme and cook for another minute.
- Add the rice. Fry the rice for a minute or two - it will start to go clear. You might need to stir it once or twice to stop it sticking.
- When your rice is clear, add the wine. Cook. Keep stirring.
- When most of the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add a ladleful of stock. Keep stirring.
- When the stock has been absorbed, add more stock. Stir. Stir.
- Repeat the adding of stock and the stirring. Keep tasting, too, to see when your rice is cooked through but retains a little bite. Stock, stir, repeat.
- When your rice is nearly cooked, add the kale and lemon zest in with the next ladle of stock, and stir. The kale will wilt a little.
- When your rice is completely cooked, take it off the heat. Stir in the goat's cheese, lemon juice and parmesan, along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, with a little extra goat's cheese on top.
- *Use vegetable stock to make this recipe vegetarian