Risotto doesn’t take long to make, but it’s not a no-effort meal. It does require something from you. It needs nursing, watching over and gentle encouragement. But this loving care rewards you ten-fold. The homely, satisfying plate of food you get is the culinary equivalent of a big hug. Even more so if you’ve made your own stock to feed the little grains of rice.
I’ve waited a long time for the roast chicken and spring onion risotto I’ve just eaten; since Sunday, to be exact. That’s when I roasted the chicken which was destined to become this dish, after it had given up its breast meat to a Sunday dinner. I knew then that I would make a roast chicken risotto in the week. The legs remained untouched so they would provide the meat and the bare bones of the whole chicken the stock.
Today I worked from home so at lunchtime I pulled the leftover meat from the bird and put the remains in my large stock pot, along with the usual stock ingredients. There it simmered slowly during the afternoon, making me hungrier and hungrier as time went on. When I finished my work for the day I turned my attention to the risotto.
I poured myself a glass of wine, turned on the gas and placed a heavy, medium sized pan over the heat. In went a knob of butter to melt and sizzle as I chopped a shallot to add to the pan. And so the gentle stirring began. After a few minutes it was time to throw in some risotto rice. I didn’t measure it; this dish was far too relaxed for precision. Time for more stirring, to coat the rice until it was slick and glossy with butter, next a slosh of vermouth which sizzled and made sweet, alcoholic steam. Once the vermouth had reduced down I started to add the simmering chicken stock, a ladleful at a time, with more stirring in between. And there I stood, stirring, sipping wine, letting the cares of the day evaporate to join the steam drifting out of the kitchen door into the garden.
Towards the end of the cooking time I chopped a couple of spring onions and added them to the pan along with the roast chicken I’d torn from the legs, a sprinkling of sea salt and a grinding of black pepper. When the chicken was heated through and the risotto rice al dente with a nice bite to it I took the pan off the heat and stirred in some shaved parmesan cheese. My work was done and my reward was steaming and ready to be devoured.