I remember my first dinner party clearly. I was younger, obviously, and at university and it was while my parents went away. I didn't have a big alcohol filled party but instead had a dinner party where I invited 7 of my nearest and dearest over for a 3 course meal. I had no idea how to have a dinner party really, and my mistake was making a risotto. I couldn't sit down and enjoy the company of my guests - instead I was the one chained to the stove stirring the rice and adding ladleful after ladleful of stock. I hated being stuck in the kitchen while everyone was having a good time - and worse still _I _had chained _myself _to the stove so I had no-one to blame but myself.
I was talking to a friend about this and she told me some clear and easy instructions for a baked risotto where you simply put everything in an oven proof baker and bake it for 40 minutes. The ratio is this: 1.5 cups of arborio rice to 4.5 cups of stock. That's it and you can make all sorts of variations and whatever flavour that you usually like. No pfaffing about and stirring or standing there checking to see whether the rice has absorbed the liquid (about the culinary equivalent of watching paint dry). This is set and forget. Ever since then I've made it loads of times, with different flavours. Today I was making a three cheese version, only because I had some cheese that needed to have been used.
I used the Small Cow Fettice Feta that I bought from the Easter Show although once I saw how cute the little imprint was, I almost didn't want to use it. I also used some reggiano and tallegio although you could really use whatever cheeses that you have. There is one condition though and that is that you don't leave it to sit for too long. As you can see I did as the phone rang and I started another one of my usual long phone calls and it got a little dryer than I would have liked. Eat it straight away and you will be rewarded.
Forget It Three Cheese Risotto
An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 4 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups of grated cheeses (I used feta, reggiano and tallegio)
- basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Rinse rice and empty into a deep non stick baking tray or dutch oven. Scatter cheeses on top and mix to combine. Pour hot stock over, season with salt and pepper and cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Bake this close to the time you want to serve it as it gets a bit drier as it sits.
After sitting for about 1 hour-not ideal. Eat it straight away.