This week’s Monday Meals might seem like a bit of a cheat, but this packet risotto is one of the best things in my store cupboard. If I end up never having relatives in Italy (see my earlier post on Milan), I will have to find some way of importing this stuff!
The packet risotto we get here in the UK has nothing on this – and it’s often more than double the price. Risotto is, I think, a divisive food; people tend to love or hate it. Unless we seek it out, or eat in fancy restaurants, we seem to also be limited to a bland mushroom flavour. It’s also a dish that can be done really badly.
But trust me, with a packet from Milan – Knorr or a supermarket’s own brand, you will never go wrong!(I do have my own risotto recipe from scratch, for a lemon and rocket flavour, so I will post that in the coming weeks!)
One packet risotto
500ml cold water
First of all, you have to get on a plane and head to Italy (1.), and then find the nearest Esselunga supermarket (2.). Grab a basket, browse the aisles and then choose your risotto (3 & 4). (The photographs show the Esselunga own-brand Milanese risotto. It is my favourite ever. This time I brought back eight packets. However, as you will see below, I have prepared the Knorr ‘Zucca’ or Pumpkin risotto, which was brought over to me earlier in the year when my Italian-based brother visited.)
So, to prepare the packet risotto, it’s simple. Open the packet (5.), pour it into a pan, add 500ml of cold water, put the pan on the heat and stir (6.). Keep stirring from time to time, and make sure the risotto doesn’t stick (7.). You want the consistency to be not too ‘wet’. If the risotto is getting too dry, but the rice isn’t cooked, add a little more water. It’s all about tasting it as you go.
Once it’s ready, you can add whatever you like to it. Parmesan is nice to add, or to sprinkle on the top (8.). Butter adds depth of flavour to a Milanese risotto, but isn’t necessary. Sausage meat added to the Zucca variety cuts the sweetness of this flavour. Or add pancetta to Spinach or Asparagus varieties for a bit of bite.