Risotto. It’s one of those dishes that seems so simple and easy yet is very, very easy to screw up.
Or so it seems.
Everyone has their own way of doing it – some make their risotto in the oven much like a casserole. Others use pots. Me? I like making my risottos in a frying pan or chef’s pan. I can’t recall why I started doing it this way, but I’ve found that it works well for me. And rather than using my cast iron, I like to wield a non-stick frying pan to do so – mind you, this is actually laziness. Making risotto in my seasoned cast iron pan means that I’d have to clean it thoroughly then season it again to bring back it’s glossy non-stick shine, whereas a non-stick pan means a quick rinse, dry and it’s done!
Hey, I’m allowed to take short-cuts too
My sponsors over at Kitchenware Direct gave me free range to pick any item from their store to review next, I eagerly went straight to the frying pans. Why? Because my family have a habit of destroying all the non-stick ones that I buy – in fact, they’re so bad that I’ve banned them from using my cast-iron pan in case they doom it to an early death as well!
After perusing the wares, I finally decided on the Scanpan IQ 32cm frypan. I want my everyday kitchen equipment to be clean, simple with no frills and lots of useability and this baby ticked all the boxes. Plus, the additional fact that despite being 32cm in size, it’s light enough to be wielded on-handed by my arthritis and RSI-suffering mother is a massive bonus!
So once the pan arrived, I had to think about what I would make to christen it. I mean, a brand new piece of cookware deserves to be welcomed into the house with a little something special, if you know what I mean? As I hadn’t yet made a risotto this winter, I decided that it was time to break out the arborio rice and get my rice on, with some authentic Spanish Manolete chorizo as the star ingredient.
And how did it go? Well, I can happily report that the pan was an absolute dream to cook with. Despite being so large, it heated quite evenly so that I didn’t have any problems with one side cooking faster than the other. It’s non-stick coating also meant that frying up the garlic and onion was absolutely no sweat despite garlic’s tendency to catch on the pan as it cooks.
And the risotto?
Well, when I was frying up the diced chorizo, my mother came into the kitchen nose-first, sniffing like a bloodhound on the scent. She tried to steal a piece, but a deft whack from my wooden spatula sent her hand scurrying from the pan. And despite the fact that she was going out to dinner to an Italian restaurant with some family friends in Camberwell, she polished off a small bowl of the stuff and came back from dinner exclaiming that the risotto tasted better than anything that they ordered there!
I think that bodes rather well for this dish, don’t you?
The one thing I do need to say here is to make sure that you get a rich, authentic chorizo for this recipe as that is really the primary flavour here. The oil that you get from the initial fry off is beautiful for the onion, and the flavour that comes out of them once you add the stock and start to simmer is what really makes this risotto shine!
Chorizo, capsicum & green pea risotto
2 Spanish chorizo (you want authentic flavour for this dish)
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 capsicum, diced
1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
300g risotto rice (I use arborio)
1.25L chicken stock
1 tsp smoked paprika
Freshly cracked pepper, to serve
1. Take your chorizo (I highly recommend this Manolete chorizo) and dice it into small, even pieces.
2. Place your stock in a pot, place the lid on and bring it to a slow simmer. Meanwhile, fry the onion, garlic chorizo till the onion is translucent and the chorizo is cooked through.
3. Once the onion is cooked, add the diced capsicum and fry till fragrant. Now add your rice and stir through to lightly toast it and get everything nicely combined.
4. Add 2 cups of the simmering stock to the pan and slowly stir, making sure to keep stirring so everything cooks evenly. Once almost all the stock is absorbed, add another cup of stock and repeat.
5. Continue to add the stock, 1 cup at a time and taste a rice grain now and then – you want the rice to be evenly cooked with no crunchiness in the centre, but at the same time the rice grains need to be able to hold their shape and have some firmness to them. Once the rice is almost done, add the peas and stir through so they cook through in the remaining heat.
Once cooked, serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of parsley.
Upload a photo of your own dilapidated or destroyed frying pan on the Kitchen Wench Facebook page and tell me what happened to it and why you should win a new one!
Or alternatively, upload it anywhere on the net (flickr, for example) and leave a comment with a link to the photo and again, tell me what happened to it and why you deserve one of these lovely Scanpan IQ 32cm frying pans!
Unfortunately, the draw is only open to Australian residents – but even if you don’t live here, you might know someone else who does and would be glad for a chance to win!
Entries close on Sunday 7th August so that gives you just two weeks to take a photo for a chance to win, so better get cracking!
Who knows, you might win the pan and also christen it with a lovely risotto recipe of your own