And Then The Rains Came ….

10 Oct


This is the other side to “Sunny Spain” unpredictable but just as beautiful, as the Spanish always say “It’s good for the oranges”.

Rufus & I got caught in a big rainstorm this morning. It definitely throws a different light on  everything. Very atmospheric and cleansing although the mascara running down my face was not a good look!

It’s at times like this when only risotto will do, it’s comforting, warming and also therapeutic with all that stirring, staring out of the window at the steely sky. I like to make risotto with shortgrain brown rice (it gives a really nutty flavour and great texture) & whatever I have in my fridge, which today is mushrooms, leeks & red onion. I also have a bottle of Marsala in the cupboard which will be fabulous with the mushrooms..

Leek & Mushroom Risotto with Marsala

Serves 2/3 (with leftovers) Vegetarian

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (basil oil if you have it see recipe)
  • about 150 – 200gr mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 leek chopped
  • 2 clove garlic chopped
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4 or 5 handfuls of risotto rice (I use brown shortgrain, it takes a bit longer to cook)
  • a good glug of Marsala (or Madeira, or white wine)
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • 1 or 2 tbsp basil pesto (I used my basil & garlic pulp from the basil oil recipe)
  • salt & black pepper 
  • a handful of grated parmesan (plus extra shaved for garnish)
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions & leeks and cook over a medium heat until translucent & softened.
  2. In the meantime put the veg stock in a small sauce pan over a low heat.
  3. Add the mushrooms & garlic to the onions and cook for 2 or 3 mins then add the lemon juice.
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat in oil and vegetables then add the Marsala, stir again.
  5. When the liquid has evaporated add a ladleful of warm veg stock to the rice, stir or shake the pan to combine.
  6. When the liquid has evaporated add another ladleful of veg stock and stir or shake the pan, continue like this until all the veg stock is incorporated or the rice is cooked,stirring frequently.
  7. It should take about 25 mins. (Longer if you use brown rice, you may have to put the lid on for the last 10 mins to soften the rice).
  8. When the rice is cooked & most of the liquid evaporated add a handful of grated parmesan, the basil pulp/pesto, black pepper & salt to taste .Stir to combine.
  9. Serve in warmed bowls with shaved parmesan

Making Risotto


    Leek & Mushroom Risotto with Marsala

    I think it was owning a restaurant for 9 years that has made me slightly obsessed with using leftovers. It can be the difference between making profit & not and also encourages creativity in the kitchen. I think most of the time the leftover recipes turn out to taste better than the main dish, which is when it’s really succesful.

    One such recipe is for Arancini (The Italian word for little oranges) which uses up leftover risotto by making it into balls, coating in breadcrumbs and frying them. In my recipe I stuff them with a cube of mozzarella, bake them in the oven (a little healthier) and serve them with a tomato sauce that is actually my leftover tomato & basil soup.

    Mushroom & Mozzarella Arancini with Tomato Sauce Recipe

  • leftover risotto (I had enough for 6 balls a bit bigger than golf balls)
  • 1/2 ball mozzarella cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • tomato pasta sauce (I used my leftover tomato soup- see recipe)
  • shaved parmesan to garnish
  • 1. Make the cold risotto into little balls a bit bigger than golf balls, poke a piece of mozzarella into the centre and roll it into a ball again around the mozzarella.

    2. Have two small dishes ready, one with beaten egg and the other with breadcrumbs. Roll the balls one at a time first in the egg then in the breadcrumbs and put on a plate to chill in the fridge.

    3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, brush the Arancini with a little olive oil and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cook for about 20 mins until golden & crispy.

    4. Meanwhile heat up your tomato sauce adding a little basil pulp/pesto.

    5. To serve ladle the sauce into the bottom of your warmed serving dish & place the Arancini in the sauce, garnish with shaved parmesan.


    Arancini in Tomato Sauce

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