People often get freaked out at the mention of the word ‘risotto’ and think it is a difficult dish to perfect. Luckily, I was taught a traditional, home-cooks version of the dish by a Maltese friend when I was at college. It has been a fabulous go-to tasty dish ever since.
I encourage the use of organic ingredients wherever possible and if you can make your own broth to use as the stock component, all the better – then it will pack a greater punch nutritionally.
The great thing about celery is it helps us busy people chill out, so go heavy on the celery for a natural relaxer.
300g local/chemical-free chicken breast
2 tablespoons flour of choice (I use whatever GF I have in the cupboard or even almond meal)
Olive oil (extra virgin always)
1 onion roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves all crushed & chopped finely
Parsley stems chopped finely
2-3 celery sticks, sliced (chop the leaves roughly too)
1 cup risotto (arborio) rice
2 cups chicken stock
Zest of one lemon
1 handful of parsley leaves & squeeze of lemon to garnish
Seasoning (salt & pepper) to taste
Optional: fresh herbs, extra vegetables like carrot or zucchini/courgette. Peas work well but add them at the end.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large thick bottomed wok or frypan that has a lid for later. It’s best if oil is very warm but not hot.
Stir in onions, garlic and parsley stems until white veges turn translucent. Meanwhile, boil the stock and have it standing by.
Add the rice to the pan, stirring frequently until it begins to go clear.
Add boiling hot stock and once boiling add all the rest of the ingredients except seasoning. Stir it all in.
Now, this is important, turn heat down to low on a small element or flame, put on the lid and leave it on and DO NOT STIR at all. The aim is to cook the ingredients by absorption. If you stir it or open the lid it will go gluggy. One little peek towards the end is ok to check.
It’s ready 20-30 minutes later when most of the stock has been absorbed and ingredients are cooked to your preferred texture.
To serve garnish with parsley leaves, a squeeze of lemon and season with salt and pepper.