Then I read over at the il cavoletto di Bruxelles blog that risotto was the featured dish in the latest 'Hey, hey it's Donna Hay day!' and thought it might be fun to add one of my favourite recipes into the mix.
And finally, I found some time to read the wonderful risotto chapter in Giorgio Locatelli's fantastic book 'Made in Italy'. Giorgio's writing is inspirational but ironically the recipe I've decided to do is 'risotto ai cavolfiore' – the cauliflower risotto from Jamie Oliver's 'Jamie's Italy' as I have a spare cauliflower on hand. But I'm going with the maestro Giorgio Locatelli's five point risotto method as it all sounds so much more lyrical in Italian.
Firstly it's the soffritto - the very finely chopped onion is sautéed in butter. Though today I'm using a little leek mixed in with the onions as I have an abundance. And as this is a cauliflower risotto, the finely chopped cauliflower stalk is also added the lovely translucent mixture. Meanwhile the cauliflower florets are added to the pan of hot stock to cook.
Thirdly the stock is added a ladleful at a time. When the rice is half cooked the now soft cauliflower is combined to the rice mixture and each floret is gently squashed into the rice as it's added.
The penultimate and important stage is to take the risotto off the heat for a minute, without any stirring to allow the mixture to cool slightly before the last flourish.
The final stage is the mantecatura, the beating in of the butter and cheese to finish off the risotto. You can really see the risotto come alive as you beat in the butter, the glossiness is very alluring.
The risotto should have a gorgeous mixture of creaminess and bite and if you tilt the plate, the risotto ripples in waves which is called "all'onda".
This risotto and the fabulous Anna Del Conte's lemon risotto are probably two of my favourites to cook I find them infinitely soothing to create and stir and extremely comforting to eat. Sometimes only a risotto will do!