Tangy Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mackerel Risotto

I love risotto! It’s quick and oh-so-easy to make…and did I mention it costs pence to make? A big pan of risotto will make a handsome and delicious evening meal for four people or serves ample portions for two with cold leftovers thrown in containers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Originating in Northern Italy, this rice cooked in a broth dish can consist of anything you have in: from fish (fresh, frozen or canned, any variety suits this dish), through to meats of any description and then on to vegetarian versions. This truly is a dish of variation – and you can concoct any variety you happen to have the ingredients for.

Here, I’m creating a tangy fish, tomatoes and mushrooms version. And for those following gluten free and dairy free diets this simple, traditional Italian starter dish makes a very delicious meal that won’t inflame any food intolerances*.

Usually a high starch white, round rice is used with one such example being Arborio rice. In this instance, and being mindful that rices such as Arborio can be relatively high priced, I tend to use a cheap “basics” white rice, having thoroughly washed it beforehand in salted water and then numerous rinses to make sure it is clean before cooking with it.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)

A glug of olive oil (optional: sunflower or a healthy choice oil)

200g white rice (thoroughly washed and rinsed)

2 tins of mackerel (optional: in spicy tomato sauce used here)

80g mushrooms (peeled, washed and sliced)

100g sun dried tomatoes, sliced

1000ml vegetable stock (made from a stock cube)

1tbsp tomato puree

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • In a large frying pan, heat the oil until it starts to spit on a medium heat.
  • While the oil is heating, make the vegetable stock as per the instructions of the stock cubes you are using. Set aside.
  • Next, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it begins to look opaque in appearance. Now add the rice and swirl the rice around and into the chopped onion and oil. If need be and to stop the ingredients from sticking to the pan, add a little more oil or a splash of boiling water. Fry the ingredients for a few minutes until all are covered in the glistening oily liquid.
  • Turning the heat down to a low simmer, add the mushrooms, tomatoes and mackerel, and stir these into the onion and rice mixture. The tomato puree can be added now, too.
  • You are now ready to start to add the vegetable stock a little a ladle at a time. Stir the ingredients regularly so as to enable the rice to absorb the stock and when the stock looks to be absorbed, add more of it. Keep this going until all of the stock is used. You are aiming to achieve a thick broth-like consistency for the final look of the dish.
  • Once this broth-like consistency is reached, the rice should be cooked. Taste it: is it cooked? If not, add a little more liquid as you’ve used the stock by now by simply adding a little boiling water and cook until the rice is cooked. Cooking time will depend upon the rice you are using so check the packet instructions for the timing.
  • Serve on warmed dinner plates or in bowls, and season.

I used rice that cooked in 10 minutes which made this a super quick meal to make. And as the rice was from a “basics” range, it was extremely affordable, too.

And you can quite literally use any combination of ingredients when making a risotto: I’ll be bringing you a few more such examples soon.

Some people might add butter and flakes of a strong cheese such as Parmesan at the latter stages before serving but I don’t: I’m a healthy eating advocate and the dish already has fats in it from the oil. Our bodies need “good” fats in moderation – unsaturated fats – to operate so aim to incorporate some into your daily food intake. But, as with all fats, it contains calories so be aware of this fact and choose healthier options that can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. More details can be found on the National Health Service website at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Fat.aspx

For more easy-to-make recipes and inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date with Ms Love Food on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find me on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!

* Do check the food labels to make sure you are fully aware of what each ingredient includes before using it within your recipe.

Mushrooms and Sundried Tomatoes Risotto

For a cheap and cheerful midweek supper, this risotto is an easy-to-make meal for singletons, couples and families alike.

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Ingredients

Serves 2

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

100g mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

100g sundried tomatoes, chopped

100g risotto rice (or plain white or brown rice are fine, too)

Drizzle of oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes

800ml vegetable stock

1 tbsp basil

Method

  • Put the chopped onion in a frying pan, adding a splash of water to prevent the onion from sticking to the pan plus a pinch of salt cooking it until soft and translucent in appearance.

Dawn: A pinch of slat prevents the onion turning a brown colour while it is softening and helps show off the final appearance of this glistening jewel of a dish to its full advantage.

  • Next, add the chopped mushrooms and sundried tomatoes with a drizzle of the oil they have come in, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have turned soft in texture.
  • Wash the rice and add to the pan, stirring until it is covered in the oil.
  • Then add a ladle at a time of the vegetable stock, continuously stirring the ingredients together until the liquid has been absorbed into the rice mixture. Add a ladle at a time until all the stock has been used and the combined ingredients look creamy in consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Dawn: The rice will have become plump so you’ll know it’s cooked. Serve with either warm crusty bread in warm bowls or with a mixed green leaf salad or fresh vegetables.

I’ve used risotto rice here but you can use any rice that you have in your cupboards and this is a very easy, cheap and tasty supper to make. And for families of, say 4, simply double up the ingredients.

Risotto originates from northern Italy and is traditionally served as a starter dish Bon appetite!

For more economical and tasty food recipes, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and scoot over to Twitter @Love_Food_UK for regular food chat as well as finding the Cooking Sensation over on Facebook (come ‘Like’, please). Oh, not forgetting the fab MumsNet Bloggers Network, too!

 

 

Panzanella

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We have said before that the Southern Italians can make what they have go a long way, and this dish is ideal for using up stale bread and slightly soft tomatoes.

Dawn: Just as we have the kitchen back up and running, here we have a no cook recipe.

Andrew: It is just ideal for the warmer weather, quite filling on its own, but excellent in a large bowl with a barbecue.

Dawn: And the longer you leave it before serving, the more the flavour develops.

Ingredients

Serves 4

100-200g day old bread, unsliced

300-400g tomatoes (any size or variety)

One red onion

2 tsp of capers

A handful of black olives

One tin of anchovies (optional)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and black pepper to season

Method

  • Roughly tear the bread into bite size pieces. No need for ceremony here, as this is a rustic dish where presentation isn’t the key issue.
  • Chop the tomatoes into different sized pieces. We have made this with a large beefsteak variety, some plum and vine tomatoes and a few cherry ones, for variety in colour and texture.
  • Place the bread and tomatoes in a salad bowl and mix well.
  • Add the capers, olives and anchovies to the bowl, then sprinkle on the vinegar and drizzle over the olive oil.
  • Mix well to allow the oil and vinegar to coat everything. They will moisten the bread, as will the juices from the tomatoes.
  • Season well, and serve when ready.

Andrew: There are no limits to this dish. A few cloves of roasted garlic, slices of roasted pepper and courgette can be added too.

Dawn: A few basil leaves, and a crumbly white cheese like feta might add to the colour and flavour too.

Andrew: Fantastic!

For more tips and recipes keep following our blog forfoodlovers.wordpress.com, Facebook and our Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK  for ideas and ways to make your food go further.