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Mix and Match Risotto

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Risotto is the ultimate comfort food; thick, creamy and warming. This recipe allows you to take your pick of three mix and match ingredients - goats' cheese, roasted red peppers and bacon. Simply discard the ingredients you want to or use all three. Remove the bacon to make it veggie friendly or the cheese for those who are lactose intolerant. It's delicious in all combinations.


  • 1.5 litres of hot vegetable or chicken stock1
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 250g of Arborio rice2
  • 150ml minimum of white wine, preferably dry
  • 25g butter
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

And your choice of...

  • 2 red peppers
  • 200g of crumbled goats' cheese
  • 1 pack of bacon lardons or 5 rashers of bacon roughly chopped


  1. Take the peppers and roast or grill them until the flesh is soft, the skin charred and they have a lovely smoky texture. Next put them into a food bag and seal tightly. As they cool the skin will become loose and be easy to peel off. Chop the flesh roughly and put to one side.

  2. Take a frying pan and fry the bacon bits and the crushed garlic slowly in a little olive oil. Ideally the bacon should cook in its own fat.

  3. In a saucepan, put more olive oil, butter and the chopped onion and fry over a low heat until soft and translucent. While this is cooking, make up the stock, remembering to use boiling water.

  4. When the onions are cooked, stir in the risotto rice, making sure that it is becomes completely covered in oil. The grains should glisten. Allow the rice to toast for a couple of minutes and add the wine and a quarter of the hot stock. Stir and then bring the mixture to the boil, before reducing the heat so it bubbles contentedly.

  5. The secret to a good creamy risotto is to add the stock gradually, stirring the mixture occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and then adding some more. Continue in this way, until all the stock is used up and the grains still have a little bite to them.

  6. Finally stir in the desired combination of goats' cheese, roasted red peppers and bacon. Season to taste and transfer to a hot dish to serve.

NB: This meal should serve four but invariably serves less.

1Homemade is best but a stock cube is just as good.2Arborio Rice is from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, classically used in the production of risottos, it is capable of absorbing large quantities of liquid while retaining a firm texture.

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