Sprout & Lemon Risotto

Sprouts are super tasty when not overcooked and one of the vegetables we can actually grow in the UK so it’s a shame generally people only eat them at Christmas with a roast dinner. This recipe from Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty More’ is freshened up by using lemon rind and tarragon and made a bit special with delicious dolce Gorgonzola. Ottolenghi serves this with some fried quartered sprouts (300g) which I didn’t serve on this occasion but can only improve things even more.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 30g butter
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • few sprigs thyme
  • 2 lemons
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 200g sprouts
  • 200ml white wine
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 40g parmesan
  • 60g dolce gorgonzola
  • 10g tarragon
  • salt and pepper

Method

1. ) Peel and finely chop the onions. Chop the sprouts into shreds. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the onions. Start to fry until soft.

2.) While the onion is softening, peel and finely chop the garlic, strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs and peel the skin from one of the lemons. With a small knife, scrape any pith that’s left on the lemon strips. Finely slice the lemon skin.

3.) Once the onion is soft, dd the garlic, lemon and thyme to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Measure out the wine in a measuring jug.

4.) Add the rice to the pan along with the sprouts and toast for 1 minute.

5.) Add the wine and let it simmer until mostly cooked off. In the meantime, make up the stock.

6.) Add the stock in ladleful’s until it’s all absorbed and the rice is soft with a bite. Zest the lemon and measure out the cheese. Grate the parmesan. Finely chop the tarragon.

7.) Once the rice is soft, add the cheeses, lemon zest and some salt and pepper. Slice a lemon in half, remove the pips and squeeze in the juice from one half. Add the tarragon and stir.

Lemon & Caper Cauliflower Orzo

My husband was asking for something with roasted cauliflower and I came across this charred cauliflower and orzo dish on BBC Good Food. I’m not sure how authentically Italian it is. I was just in Rome and I saw all the classics – Spaghetti alle Vongole, Lasagne, Carbonara, Rome’s version of Arancini (suppli) and more focaccia and mozzarella than you can shake a stick at but nothing with cauliflower and orzo. Nonetheless it’s still molto buono as they say in Italy. Rome is a beautiful, richly historic city and I’m now watching Suburra on Netflix which is an engrossing Italian crime drama set in Rome allowing me to relive all the sites.

Serves 3 (I doubled the recipe which Served 1 with leftovers)

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g orzo
  • 4 tsp capers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 100g rocket

Method

1.) Heat up the grill

2.) Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Chop up the cauliflower and place over the tray.

3.) Grill for 10 – 15 minutes until charred.

4.) Cook the orzo in a pan of boiling water until soft.

5.) Make up the stock and peel and dice the garlic. Zest the lemon.

6.) Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and capers and fry for a minute.

7.) Drain the orzo and add to the pan, add the cauliflower, the lemon zest, add the lemon juice to the pan and the vegetable stock.

8.) Cook for a couple of minutes then serve up with the rocket sprinkled over.

Avgolemono soup

I first came across this avgolemono soup on the beautiful food blog ‘Adventures in Cooking’. It’s often seen as a Greek recipe (though may have Jewish roots) and the author of this blog has Greek heritage. I first tried that recipe a number of years ago when I still ate meat. It had shredded roasted chicken and chicken stock so it was a bit of an ask to convert it into a vegetarian recipe but I had to try as I really love it and fortunately the result was a success. Whisking the egg white up then slowly incorporating it back into the hot soup is a genius idea which really makes a lovely creamy textured soup. The recipe works pretty well with orzo or rice noodles that I have used. With the kick of lemon, it’s a perfect dinner for when you have a cold.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • Plant pioneers chicken style pieces (300g)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 courgette
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 rice noodle nests
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp Massel ‘chicken flavoured’ stock

Method

1.) Strip the thyme leaves from the thyme sprigs

2.) Pan fry the chicken pieces until cooked with the oregano.

3.) Slice thinly and set to one side

4.) Peel and dice the onion, chop up the courgette

5.) Pan fry the onion and courgette until soft then set to one side

6.) Make up the stock with 8 cups of boiling water

7.) Add the stock to a large pan and add the rice noodles

8.) Let this simmer for 5 minutes and take off the heat.

9.) Separate the eggs into two separate bowls

10.) Juice the lemons into another bowl

11.) Whisk up the egg whites until beginning to froth. Add in the egg yolks and lemons and whisk together.

12.) Add ladlefuls of the stock to the egg, whisking between each spoon.

13.) Carry on until half the stock is whisked into the egg.

14.) Then, add ladlefuls of the egg mixture back into the soup and whisk between each until it’s all incorporated.

15.) Put back onto the heat and simmer until the noodles are cooked

16.) Add the chicken pieces, courgette and onion back into the soup, season, stir and serve.