( SERVES 4 )
Risottos really are simple to make — they are only rice cooked in stock after all. Keep the consistency slightly soupy, just as the Italians do. To make a creamy risotto you need to use arborio, vialone, nano or carnaroli rice. These are starchy rice varieties available at supermarkets and specialty food stores.
- In a wide, heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic cook over a low heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and stir until rice is well coated with the butter, about 2 minutes, then add the wine and allow to evaporate.
Heat the stock in a separate saucepan and keep at a low simmer.
Add stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until all the stock has been absorbed before you add the next cupful. Keep risotto at a rapid simmer.
Continue cooking for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is still a little firm to the bite (al dente).
Add the peas and cook for a further 2 minutes. Fold through the baby spinach leaves, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and lastly stir through the basil pesto.
Spoon the risotto into warm shallow bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese.
Make a change
Instead of the basil pesto, chop 1/4 cup fresh herbs such as parsely, chives and basil and stir through the risotto. Pan-fry 4 bacon rashers until crisp and serve on top of the risotto..