I love rice in almost all forms… I am after all, of Chinese descent. When I was growing up, we had rice at every dinner. In the mid-90’s, I was at university with a Swiss/Chinese girl, D who made the most delicious risotto. The only problem was that her risotto was loaded with fat. The amount of cream, cheese and butter she added to the pan, makes me feel like fainting now I think about it.
Risotto seems to be slightly problematic – it’s usually loaded with saturated fat and doesn’t score highly on the fruit/vegetable count. This is why I created this recipe. It’s made with crushed tomatoes, bell peppers with sun-dried black olives dotted throughout. Sometimes I keep it completely vegetarian, and sometimes I add chicken to it – it all works really well.
TOMATO & PEPPER RISOTTO
- 1 t oil
- 1 x small onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 200 g (7 oz) risotto/Arborio rice
- 225 g (½ lb) chicken, cut into strips (optional)
- 4 medium bell peppers, colors of your choice, de-stalked, de-seeded and cut into thin strips
- 6 g (¾ t) better than bouillon* stock paste
- 800 g crushed tomatoes
- 375-480 ml (1 ½ -2 c) water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 T sun-dried black olives, chopped finely
- 2 t salted butter
* Better than bouillon is a concentrated paste, which you add water to, to make a stock. If this is not available, use stock cubes or ready-made unsalted stock instead of water in step 4.
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil until hot. Add the onions and garlic and fry until aromatic and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the chicken if using, and stir until seared, about 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the peppers, crushed tomatoes and stir. Bring to the boil and simmer.
4. Add the stock paste and half of the water; stir every few minutes until most of the rice has absorbed the moisture.
5. Add the remaining water, and continue to stir every few minutes for a total cooking time of 15-18 minutes from the time you added the rice to the pan. The rice should be al-dente, not soggy or too wet.
6. Take the pan off the heat, season with salt and pepper.
7. Stir in the olives and butter, serve immediately. Enjoy!