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Great risotto is about technique, ingredients and a little patience. Once you’ve mastered this dish, you can experiment with a plethora of seasonal flavours and vegetables. A few key steps that need to be adhered to are lightly toasting the rice in the onion, oil and garlic mix at the beginning, then adding your stock one ladle at a time, until fully absorbed – before adding the next ladle. The type of rice is hugely important. The most commonly used in NZ is arborio rice. Arborio contains a high proportion of amylopectin, which is the sticky starch responsible for a risotto’s trademark creamy texture. Long grain rices such as basmati contain amylose, which has the opposite effect and causes the rice to separate which is why they don’t work well in risottos. Follow these simple steps to get a lusciously creamy risotto with punchy flavours. Enjoy!

PREP TIME: 5 MINS
COOK TIME: 15-20 MINS
SERVES: 4-5 PEOPLE

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-sized shallots, finely-diced
2 cloves garlic, finely-chopped
6-7 sage leaves, roughly-chopped (or use one stick of rosemary if don’t have sage and finely chop)
1 decent-sized chorizo, diced
2 chicken breasts chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (about 300g)
1/2 cup white wine
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock in pot, hot on stove
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
4 tablespoons butter

Method

  1. Heat half the olive oil in a large pan to a medium heat and add garlic, sage and shallots. Cook for 4-5 minutes to soften the shallots, ensuring they do not brown.
  2. Next add chicken and brown. Once it has just started to brown add chorizo. Cook for 5-6 mins until the chorizo juices start coming out.
  3. Turn up the heat a little and pour in arborio rice, frying for 1-2 mins until the rice is shiny and a little translucent, but not browned.
  4. Add wine and cook until almost all absorbed. Then start adding stock.
  5. Ladle in stock a scoop at a time, ensuring the rice and other ingredients are just covered. Stir from time to time to ensure all the rice is cooked evenly.
  6. To get to the point where the rice is perfectly cooked takes 15-20 mins. You must keep an eye on it and ensure you do not overcook the rice or else you’ll be left with a stodgy mess. You want the rice so it still has a very small crunch to it (i.e. al dente).
  7. When rice is ready, remove from heat and add butter and parmesan and taste. Season with salt and pepper if need be.
  8. Let risotto rest for a couple of minutes before serving evenly in 4-5 bowls. Garnish with chives and grated parmesan.