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What’s cooking today: Courgette, caperberry & blue cheese risotto

Tony Jackman’s courgette risotto with caperberries and blue cheese, photographed in a blue pasta bowl by Mervyn Gers Ceramics. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Risotto is stirring stuff. But the key is not to stir too vigorously.

A gentle touch, slow and easy, is what risotto is all about. That way, you’ll have a lovely risotto with every grain of rice intact. Beats a mush any day.

Ingredients

350 g courgettes, topped, tailed and grated

1 red onion, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 Tbsp chopped caperberries

Olive oil

500 g arborio rice

1 litre vegetable stock

100 ml dry white wine

80 g blue cheese, crumbled

250 ml cream

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Parmesan, Pecorino or Grana Padano shavings for garnish

Whole and halved caperberries for garnish

Salt and white pepper to taste

Method

Rinse the courgettes under cold running water, dry and set aside. Top and tail the courgettes and grate them.

Pour the stock into a pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat or leave it on the very lowest heat, just to keep it hot. Keep a ladle handy.

Sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. It does not need to be caramelised. Add the wine and cook it down by half. Add this to the stock.

Pour more olive oil into the pot in which you cooked the onions and heat it, then add the rice and stir well so that every grain of rice is coated with olive oil. If it does not seem to be enough, add more oil.

Start adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring now and then, slowly and gently, just to prevent it from sticking at the bottom of the pot. Repeat until half of the stock has been incorporated.

Continue adding the stock as above, until it has all or mostly been used up. If (and this is important)… if you feel that the rice is cooked perfectly before the stock is all used, stop adding more. There’s no law that says you must use all the stock; 800 ml or so might well be enough. There is another law though: risotto rice needs to be just a little al dente, but short of crunchy. That’s what you’re looking for.

Stir in the grated courgettes and cook gently for three or four minutes, then add the cream and bring it back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and cook gently while the cream incorporates. Just a couple of minutes.

Now stir in the crumbled blue cheese, and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Let it simmer for a few minutes more for the cheese to blend in, then stir in the chopped parsley. You can grate some Parmesan, Pecorino or Grana Padano over to finish it off. Garnish with a few whole and halved caperberries and chopped parsley. DM/TGIFood

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected]

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