Risotto with ratatouille vegetables and mascarpone
( SERVES 4 )
Controversially, I don't go in for the standard "ladle-by-ladle" method of making risotto, especially after Italy's premier rice farmer, Gabriele Ferron, convinced me it was unnecessary. Follow his method and you end up with rich, creamy, delicious rice without even breaking a sweat.
|80 ml||Olive oil|
|1 cup||Basil leaves|
|1 to taste||Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
- Cut the aubergines into 2cm cubes and the zucchinis into 2cm slices. Chop the onion. Quarter and seed the capsicums, then slice each quarter into pieces similar in size to the aubergine cubes. Cut the tomatoes in half, seed, then chop the flesh. Crush and chop the garlic.
- Place a large saucepan over the heat, then add the oil. Fry the onion and garlic until soft and lightly coloured, then add the capsicum and cook until shiny and soft - about 5 minutes. Add the aubergine and zucchini to the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Finely shred the basil leaves, then stir into the vegetables along with the tomato. Season with salt and pepper, then cook another 6-8 minutes.
- Put the stock into a saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the butter, and once it has melted, add the finely chopped onion and gently sauté until it is soft and shiny but without colour. Lower the heat, then add the rice and allow it to gently toast, stirring continuously so that all the grains are coated in butter and oil. As the rice cooks, it will start to give off delicate nutty, floral aromas. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the bay leaf, then pour in the wine or vermouth. Stir until the wine is absorbed, then pour in all the simmering stock, stirring well. Cover with a lid, cook for 13 minutes, then uncover and stir. Test the rice - it should still be a little firm to the bite - and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir the ratatouille into the risotto, then cook for a further 3 minutes. Divide between 4 warm bowls and top with a spoonful of mascarpone.