The joy of this recipe is four fold: its simple, seasonal, delicious and can also be made into great arancini (see below) for those in the midst of baby led weaning.
The traditional method of making this dish involves adding the stock bit by bit and a lot of stirring which is a bit labour intensive but I’ve simplified it and the results are just as great. The vegetables I’ve included are all optional – I have just gone with what is in season, but please experiment – this recipe is perfect for that!
Serves two adults and two children
Suitable for 7 months plus (add seasoning after for adults)
- 800ml Vegetable Stock
- 250g Risotto or Carnaroli rice
- ½ Fennel bulb (finely chopped)
- 1 Small Courgette (diced)
- 1 Small Carrot (diced)
- 100g Podded or Frozen peas
- 100g Asparagus (Chopped)
- 50g Parmesan (grated)
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes halved (optional)
- 2tbsp Mascarpone (optional)
Prep your vegetables. Place all the peelings, asparagus stems, fennel fronds plus any extra in a large pan with 1 litre of water, 1 bay leaf, 5 peppercorns, (any fresh herbs lying in the fridge) and bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain, and you have a quick stock. Alternatively use a good organic stock cube and follow the instructions.
Place the stock in a medium sized pan and bring to the boil, then tip in the rice and bring back to the boil, turn down the heat and gently simmer. Give it the odd stir and taste regularly; you are looking for the rice to have a bite to it, that’s when you add your prepped Vegetables. You are then looking for all the stock to have been absorbed and the vegetables to have been cooked, this is when you add the Parmesan and if you are using Mascarpone and Tomatoes then fold then in. Serve immediately.
As an alternative to risotto rice you could also use orzo pasta, which looks like large grains of rice but takes no time at all to cook and is equally scrummy.
- Mozzarella (Optional)(chopped into chunks)
- 1 Egg
- 170g plain flour
- 250g dried breadcrumbs
To make the Arancini let the Risotto cool over night in the fridge. Stir in the Mozzarella, keeping back some. Take a spoon full of the mixture and roll between wet hands into a ball, push some of the Mozzarella into the middle and plug the hole with rice. Beat together the egg and flour plus water a bit a time to make a batter. You want a single cream consitancy. Put the breadcrumbs on a plate.
Dip each ball in the batter and roll in the breadcrumbs. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190c -170c fan assisted for 10-15 mins
Variations on fillings: Sauteed mushrooms, Pesto, any cheese, Pea Puree amongst many others