“Risotto Primavera” from “The River Cafe Cook Book”. Starring Lee!

Anna: We wanted something we could reheat for Peter, and that could feed six. And it needed to be easy enough to do on a Wednesday night.

Kirstin: And it was raining when we chose it, so we chose a risotto, something warming.

Lee (Kirstin’s mum): Comfort food!

Anna: It was a bit of a faff. It was delicious, but a bit of a faff. If you have two people cooking it, and you have guests…

Kirstin: My mother and her best friend from school, 60 years ago!

Anna: If I was cooking it I would not cook it on Wednesday.

Lee: If I were. And you didn’t always stir it in the same direction. The rice is shaped in a special way, so you have to stir it the same way.

Kirstin (through gritted teeth): See? This is the kind of stuff I have to deal with all the time. Yes, the rice has an internal magnetometer in each grain. It can tell which way it is being stirred, right mum?

Anna: We don’t know how it would have tasted if we’d stirred it in one direction.

Tom: I’m saying nothing.

Lee: That’s a first!

Kirstin: As expected, I cut the zucchini without Anna, I read the instructions several times, and I still got it wrong! There’s no picture! It’s not like new books with a picture on every page!

Anna: We don’t know if it was right or wrong, but it’s not clear. That’s a running theme with this book: gaps in the instructions. That made a monster amount, though.

Lee: It tasted good, but that was a lot of butter. And it was only green. There was no red or yellow.

Kirstin: It was primavera! That means spring! Remind me who is studying Italian again?

Lee: What about apricots?

Tom: I’d forgotten that Lee chooses her menus on the basis of the colours of the ingredients.

Anna: Anyway, you can make risotto creamy without a lot of butter. And Kirstin’s biceps are huge after grating all that cheese.

Kirstin: And we did the summer salad.

Lee: Pumpkin! Pumpkin! That’s summer! I bought nice pumpkin the other day. Anyhow, it tasted very primavera. I sprang out!

Anna: I think pumpkins are autumn. Anyway, the quantities were right, if you don’t mind putting that much butter into a saucepan of rice.

Janet (Lee’s friend): It tasted nice!

Anna: I went off-piste. I put some salt on the onions when they were sauteeing to stop them burning.

Lee: That’s a good little tip! You should share this knowledge! I think the vegetables should have been cut a bit smaller. And should it have been placed on a bed of salad, I ask myself? It would look like Ophelia, wouldn’t it?

Kirstin (rolling eyes): You know we are turning into our mothers.

Anna: I liked it the way it was. I’m not telling Peter how much butter there was in it, though, or he won’t eat it. He’ll have just burned 4,000 calories in his bike race, but I can’t tell him. Ooh, phone! Hello, dear. How did you do in the race? Did you have an accident? Second place! How much do you win for second?

Tom: Go on, tell us!

Anna: £9! Well, he’s not sure. But he got £7 for third the other day and £5 for fourth. So we think £9. He got a choice of energy bar: mango, banana or tropical. He went for mango.

Kirstin: Would I cook this again? No. It was too much of a faff.

Anna: I don’t think I’ll make it again. There’s only one risotto that I’ve cooked more than once: Nigel Slater’s purple sprouting broccoli and taleggio risotto.

Kirstin: Mum, would you eat it again? You’ll eat anything I cook for you. Especially if there’s wine with it.

Lee: If Kirstin cooks it, yes, as a guest I would. But I wouldn’t put all that butter in, and all that cheese. And I’d stir it in the right direction.

Verdict: Would we cook this again? No. 5/10.

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“Risotto Primavera” from “The River Cafe Cook Book”. Starring Lee!

11 thoughts on ““Risotto Primavera” from “The River Cafe Cook Book”. Starring Lee!

  1. Peter says:

    I thought it had been cooked with creme fraiche, until I read about the butter. Nonetheless, it was very tasty and I liked the chunkiness of the vegetables. Redolent of mulligatawany soup, without the excess liquid obviously. Probably could have eaten another bowl, but as a latecomer I accept someone beat me to it.

  2. Naima Sanowar says:

    It looks so delicious ladies and Tom. Yummy. I want to cook this, it is one of Joe’s favourite dishes, risotto

  3. Annika says:

    Wow, Where is the soup aspect in this cooking experience ? But seriously have you given up on summer and regressed to spring ? The more butter the better, just try nigella’s gout inducing lemon ( and it us called that despite mainly consisting of butter, cheese and cream) risotto .
    Innit

  4. Maureen says:

    Only your mother would be convinced that you have to stir risotto rice in a particular direction. But she never said: is the correct way clockwise or counter-clockwise?

    1. annastamour says:

      When she grabbed the spatula from me and started stirring I believe it was clockwise. Makes all the difference, apparently!

  5. Zoe Ayling says:

    You guys are hilarious ! I love this you made me laugh out loud!
    I do cook risotto but never follow a recipe due to it often being far too complicted so have created my own variations on a theme.
    The photographs of the food are truly exceptional, the colours,the detail and composition are wonderful.
    I look forward to next month ! (Must try the stirring thing when I next cook risotto)

  6. Hello there, this looks REALLY yummy. Interestingly I made something similar a few weeks ago:
    http://www.veganblog.it/2010/05/21/risotto-giallino-agli-asparagi/ although there’s only half a courgette (leftovers ;)).
    As for the butter and cheese question… it does make it yummy, but what I tend to do is add just a small lump (a tablespoon or two depending on rice quantity) at the very end, then turn the heat off, stir a lot (probably clockwise 😆 but that’s just habit) and let it melt. For cooking it I just use olive oil. And I leave the cheese as an individual choice, although there are some risottos that demand it, like Milanese…
    Love your blog!

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