I get pretty excited when I find a new lunch or dinner recipe that’s easy to make, delicious, and healthy. I don’t ask for much, do I? If it can be flexible enough to suit whatever’s in season — or in my fridge — it ticks even more boxes, and might just be a recipe that I’ll add to my list of regulars.
I’ll admit I’ve only made this half and half risotto once, but I know I’ll make it again. Easy? Yes, because risotto is just add one thing after the other and give it a stir (at least it is with me). Delicious? The dark outer leaves of the new-season savoy cabbage had a pleasing bitterness, the leeks were sweet, and the lemon added a nice tang. And healthy? With peas and mushrooms and cabbage, there’s a good serve of veg in every bowlful.
The half and half mix of traditional arborio rice and trendy quinoa makes for a nutritious blend I’m sure, and a lovely light and creamy texture. I’ve made risotto with all rice of course, and risotto with all-quinoa, but never thought to combine the two (even though I do all the time in my rice cooker). It works! I’d have to say it’s the best of both worlds.
A good risotto recipe must be infinitely adaptable for all kind of ingredients and flavours — a good base to work from. And I can see this one will be — maybe I’ll try pumpkin next time, or silverbeet and peas, or zucchini in the summertime, or asparagus…
So hurrah to having a new favourite!
Half and half risotto
Adapted from ‘Superlegumes’ by Chrissy Freer.
- First some prep. Thaw out a cup of frozen peas, slice up the white of a leek (and a little bit of the lighter green part), roughly chop 200 gms mushrooms and a few garlic cloves (to your taste). Shred a few leaves of dark savoy cabbage (sorry I’m not very precise here — but you’ll know how much cabbage you like).
- Weigh out 150 gms arborio and 100 gms white quinoa, and rinse it well.
- Set 1 litre of liquid to simmer — I used a combination of water, homemade and bought vegie stock. Boil the kettle too, as you’ll probably need to add more liquid as you cook (risotto can be so imprecise, and thirsty).
- Okay, let’s get cooking! In a deep casserole pot, sauté the leeks in oil until soft. Add the garlic and the leaves from a few sprigs of lemon thyme.
- Add the rice and quinoa and stir till well coated with the oil.
- Add 80mls white wine and simmer for a few minutes.
- Now add the simmering stock. Be lazy like me and add it all in one hit. Stir well and after about 20 minutes, test the grains (you want them soft) and watch the liquid levels. You may need to add more from that boiled kettle to ensure the risotto doesn’t stick, has enough liquid to cook the grains, and is your preferred ‘wetness’. I like my risotto a little sloppy.
- When the rice is about 5 minutes away from being done, add in the mushrooms, cabbage and peas to cook.
- When those veg are just done, add the fine zest of one lemon — and why not, add the juice of half of it as well. Enjoy!