Having arrived home yesterday and realised that what I’d planned to cook would, in reality, take too long for a week night, it became a question of store cupboard cooking.
There was no shortage of vegetables available, so after a brief rootle through Valentina Harris’s Risotto! Risotto!, I came up with a plan.
Since our return from holiday, I haven’t quite got the full compliment of essentials back in the kitchen.
I am woefully lacking in decent lemons, for instance. And the small remaining chilis from a packet are a bit wrinkly.
But miraculously, there were two shallots hiding away at the bottom of a salad drawer in the fridge, granting me the proper start to a risotto.
It had to be stock from a bottle, though, since there wasn’t time to defrost the final tub of homemade stuff.
So, into some olive oil went the finely chopped shallot, followed by some finely chopped garlic – that 1kg bunch I hauled back from France isn’t going to last very long at this rate – and then some sliced courgette. All was softened.
The rice goes in next and absorbs all the remaining oil. Then a good glug of white wine and, when that’s absorbed too, you can start adding the stock, a ladle at a time.
While that was going on, a few peas were podded, briefly boiled and drained.
I checked the seasoning. I thought about the flavour. And then the germ of an idea knocked on the door of my mind. One of the little pots I’d bought back from Roque Anchois was a cream of anchovy. This was exactly the sort of dish to add a good dollop to.
And it worked rather well too, adding a remarkably subtle layer of flavour to the finished dish.
All in all, not bad for something that wasn’t planned and was based entirely on what was actually in!