The Silver Spoon cookbook is a cult classic and The Silver Spoon for Children cookbook has also become a hit. Full of easy, healthy Italian meals that kids will love to cook and eat, it’s just been rereleased with updated recipes. This recipe for classic risotto is simple enough for children (or novice cooks) to master. As with any risotto, it just takes a bit of time…making it a great Sunday afternoon or rainy day activity!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 1½ ounces Parmesan cheese
- 5–6 ¼ cups vegetable or chicken stock (if you are not using fresh stock, use a good vegetable bouillon powder)
- 1 onion
- 3 tablespoons sweet butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- scant 1¾ cups risotto rice
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
Carefully grate the Parmesan cheese (see page 14–15), and put to one side. Pour the stock into a pan and bring up to simmering point—this is when it is very gently bubbling. Get a ladle and put it by the pan, ready for later.
Using the bridge and claw cutting techniques (see pages 12–13), chop the onion. Melt half the butter and oil in a heavy pan (the butter adds flavor and the oil keeps it from burning). Add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes until it is really soft, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. This stage is known in Italy as the “soffritto,” and it forms the base of the risotto. If you are making a different flavored risotto, you would add your other ingredients, such as garlic or mushrooms or sausage meat, at this stage.
The next stage is known as the “tostatura,” or the toasting of the rice. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it thoroughly with the onion and butter.
Carefully add a couple of ladles of hot stock and the saffron threads, and stir gently until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Then add another couple of ladles of hot stock and cook, still stirring, until it has been absorbed.
Keep adding the stock in this way until it has all been used up—only add more stock when the liquid in the pan has been absorbed. It should take about 18–20 minutes until the rice is cooked and all the stock has been absorbed.
Take a small spoon and taste the rice to see if it is ready—it should be soft but still have some “bite,” and it will also taste slightly creamy.
Lower the heat and add the remaining butter and the grated Parmesan cheese, and stir—this stage is called the “mantecatura,” and it helps to give the risotto its lovely texture. Serve immediately.