Brown rice, courgettes and mint
( SERVES 2 )
- Wipe the courgettes, then shred them using a coarse-toothed grater. Put them in a colander in the sink, generously grind salt over them and leave for at least 20 minutes. Pod the beans, cook them for 7-10 minutes in very lightly salted boiling water, then drain. If the beans are large and you have the inclination, pop them out of their skins. Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep warm over a low heat.
- Peel the shallots or onion and chop finely. Cook in 40g of the butter until soft but not coloured, stirring regularly so they don't brown. Add the rice, stir to coat the grains in the butter, then pour in the vermouth or wine. Let it almost evaporate, then start to add the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stirring almost continuously. You will find that the rice will take a good 40 minutes to cook to tenderness - that is, considerably longer than white risotto rice.
- As the rice approaches tenderness (at least 35 minutes into cooking), squeeze the grated courgette dry in your hands and stir it in. Continue cooking then, as the rice is almost cooked, add the beans, chopped mint and, if you are using them, the courgette flowers. Check the seasoning, adding black pepper and a little salt (you may not need any salt at all), then stir in the remaining butter and the grated Parmesan.
- Serve in warm shallow bowls, with a little more cheese if you wish.