let’s get cooking.jpg

let’s get cooking


AFTER THE culinary excesses of the festive season and countless resolutions to lose a pound or three, it may not be the best time of year to do so.

We all want to look stunning in our bathing suits but we can worry about that another day. After all, it is still winter. Just hide it under a sweater. With all those over-indulgences behind us and the ‘Everest’ of pans scoured and stacked, now is the time to get back to basics.

This vegetable risotto dish, which serves six, is perfect and the effort is minimal.


• 225g each of asparagus, courgette and green beans

• 175g frozen peas (defrosted in cold water)

• Salt and fresh black pepper

• 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock

• 1 medium onion, peeled then chopped finely

• 300g risotto rice (Arborio or other)

• 75 ml dry white vermouth

• 100g butter

• 175g grated parmesan or grana padano cheese


1. Remove the tips from asparagus and cut the spears along with the beans into 2.5cm lengths. Slice the courgette into four lengthways and cut again into 2.5cm pieces. Drain defrosted peas.

2. In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the olive il until softened but not browned.

3. Add the risotto rice and stir until well coated in the oil.

4. Add enough of the stock to just cover the rice and gently cook. Continue adding the stock as it is slowly absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

5. After 10 minutes add the chopped vegetables and while stirring, more of the stock.

6. Cook for five to 10 minutes more.

7. Pour in the vermouth then the butter and grated cheese, stir gently again to combine. Season again if required. The risotto should have a creamy, moist consistency.

8. Serve topped with more grated or shaved cheese.

9. Enjoy!

Shopping basket for next week’s recipe: eight fresh sausages, Puy (small, green) lentils, red wine, flat-leaf parsley.