• Stephen Hodgkinson

Risotto, what chefs don't want you to know

Risotto is one dish that people think is super difficult, but just sticking to basics and a few key steps can have you sitting down to bowl of rich and creamy risotto. Probably the single most important thing is to use a high quality arborio or carnaroli rice, quality rice absorbs the most stock whilst still retaining that al dente texture. The next essential ingredient is a homemade broth added to the rice one ladle at a time while it's still hot. The only other crucial step is lightly toasting the rice once the onion is sauteed, the Italians call this the tostada.

Chicken & Tomato risotto

Serves 2


250g Arborio rice

800ml chicken stock

100ml white wine

2 x large mushrooms sliced

12 x cherry tomatoes

1 medium sized chicken breast cut into short strips or diced

1 brown onion finely diced

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 spring onions

Extra-virgin olive oil

Shaved or grated parmesan to sprinkle on top


Place the chicken stock in a pot and bring to the boil and leave on a slow simmer. While the stock is coming to the boil gently sauté the onion and mushrooms, using a generous amount of olive oil, in a wide heavy based pan. When the onions starts to turn translucent add the rice and garlic. This stage is especially important, stir thoroughly to ensure the rice is coated really well with the oil and leave for a minute or two to lightly toast the rice & colour the garlic. Now add the wine and give everything a good stir, cook until the wine is almost gone, add a ladle of chicken stock and the remaining ingredients, stir until the stock is almost gone. Repeat this until most of the stock has been added one ladle at a time, season and check for flavour and the texture of the rice. You may need to keep adding some water until the rice is cooked just right. When it right add a last ladle of stock or hot water and by now it should be really creamy and rich. It should just hold its shape on a plate and ooze a small amount of liquid. Add to your serving bowls and garnish with the Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

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