To celebrate National Vegetarian Week, knowing how challenging it can be for vegetarians to find diverse and tasty food to cook at home, that’s ready in fifteen minutes, I’ve decided to share some recipes. Most of the things I cook are tried and tested favourites, that I make week in, week out, but some of them, like tonight’s, are spur of the moment experiments. First up, a delicious green bean risotto that’s ready in three steps, in fifteen minutes tops.
I normally make mushroom risotto, and I have to say, I’m pretty bloody good at it. The reason I make it well is that I love it so much, cooking mushroom risotto is a passionate experience for me. When you cook something you love, you add that little bit of a special spark. However, I didn’t have any mushrooms in the house tonight (which very rarely happens), so I decided to use what I had in, which turned out to be green beans and Arborio rice.
- Arborio Rice (About two handfuls per person/serving).
- Green Beans
- Tablespoon of Butter
- Garlic (I used garlic purée)
- Mustard (Dijon has a nice tang)
- Sea Salt and Pepper
- Stock Cubes (Two per person)
- Boiling Water
- Cheese (I favour cheddar)
- Three glasses of white wine (optional, but it makes a big difference).
STEP ONE: Beans
Into a hot pan, stir the following: Tablespoon of butter, tablespoon of garlic purée, tablespoon of mustard, salt and pepper.
Stir the green beans into the mixture, which will come together into a paste. Sizzle the beans until they are soft. I used them straight from the freezer, but thawed out a little bit, for maybe half an hour.
STEP TWO: Rice
Tip: The rice you need is called Arborio, it’s an Italian risotto rice. Don’t try and use Basmati or pillau, it won’t work.
Once the beans are cooked and soft, stir the rice into the mixture. It’s vitally important that every grain of rice is coated in the butter, otherwise it won’t cook properly.
Once you’ve coated the rice, you can pour the wine in, but this is optional. While it isn’t vital, it does give the risotto a more delicate, shaper flavour. After the wine, or missing it out, it’s time to add the stock.
Put the stock cubes in a jug or pan and pour the boiling water over. I find OXO vegetable, or Knorr are great, but the best is Bouillon.
Make sure the stock cubes are dissolved by giving it a good stir. Once it’s ready, cover the rice and beans with stock.
Allow the rice to absorb the stock, while simmering. Keep stirring, but stop and allow it to bubble up by itself every couple of minutes. Once the stock has been absorbed, pour some more in.
You’re waiting for the rice to be completely soft. Keep testing a piece, if there’s still a little bite in the middle, it isn’t ready.
This should take about ten minutes, perhaps a little more. The main thing is to do it right. Just keep stirring and keep having a little taste of the rice, until it’s soft.
STEP THREE: CHEESE
Once the rice is cooked, add the cheese. You can either add it into the pan, so that it melts into the rice and becomes gooey and golden, or you can just add it into the bowl when you serve, so that it keeps a bite to it. Either way is good.
I favour a trusty Cheddar, possibly because I’m not very adventurous when it comes to cheese. You can use whatever you like.
I don’t grate it, just crumble it in, so that it stays in lovely, delicious, oozing blobs.
And that’s it! All you have to do now is dish it up and enjoy the fruits of your hard work (well, not very hard).
You can serve it with salad, roast potatoes, bread, garlic bread, anything you like. Even just on its own, it’s delicious. I enjoy mine best in the garden, in the sun.
I hope you enjoy cooking and eating this dish. If you give it a go, please do let me know how you get on.
Happy Cooking, and HAPPY NATIONAL VEGETARIAN WEEK!