Ragtag Risotto: Let’s Get Cooking!

Ragtag Risotto is so named because you can pretty much throw anything into it that you have to hand! Risotto is an ideal family meal, perfect for first eaters, young children, and grown ups alike. Now that Amelia is a little older, this is one that I like to get her involved with cooking too. Wills often eats a huge portion of this – even his Grandma was flabbergasted when he polished off an entire portion that I had left for him when she babysat recently!

You don’t have to stick to the ingredients I have listed, and I often don’t depending on what we have in the fridge and cupboards! Leftover chicken from a Sunday roast works fantastically, as does smoked bacon (fat removed). You could keep it really simple and just use onions and mushrooms (and vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian), or go all out and add in a mix of seafood, using fish stock instead of chicken.

This recipe makes a huge amount of food, so is perfect for freezing, batch cooking, and saving for lunch the next day. It’s also the perfect budget recipe, without feeling like you’re eating on a budget. I have cooked this for friends and family who have been really impressed at what feels like an indulgent meal, yet it’s cost me next to nothing to make!

Serves
4-6*

Cost Per Person
£0.68p

Freezable
Yes!**

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ litres chicken stock
  • 300g risotto/Arborio rice
  • 1 large leek, sliced
  • Leftover chicken/ham/bacon
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tin sweetcorn, drained

Method

  • Put all of the chicken stock in a pan and keep warm on the hob on a low heat.
  • If you are using uncooked meat (i.e. not leftovers!) the cook your meat off now, chop, and set aside.
  • Spray a large frying pan/wok with low calorie oil spray and add the diced onion and chopped leeks. Stir fry the onion and leeks for 5 minutes then add the dry risotto rice and continue to stir fry for another minute.
  • Add the stock to the pan 1 ladle at a time. Stir the mixture continuously until all of the stock has absorbed into the rice, then add another ladle. Continue in this way until you have used all the stock.
  • Depending on whether you like your risotto with a little bite or completely softened, you may want to use a little less stock. Taste the rice throughout and stop adding stock when you are happy with your rice consistency.
  • Stir through you leftover meat and the tin of sweetcorn and remove entirely from the heat.
  • Serve with a side salad, or put into portion pots and freeze for another day!

I’ve always thought of risotto as a meal that requires a special skill to cook properly, but I can safely say we’ve never eaten a bad batch of this (even when I’ve walked away and forgotten to stir it for a few minutes!)

I’d love to hear how you get on if you try this recipe, and if your kids love it as much as mine! Let me know what you think, or if you have any variations – I’m always up for new ideas!

*This will depend on how many people you are feeding and their appetites! I got 4 adult portions, 2 toddler portions and a spare  portion out of this recipe. We ate a portion each and saved a portion for lunch the next day.
** Cooked rice needs to be cooled and stored quickly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Ideally, you should be aiming to cool cooked rice within 1 hour. Never leave cooked rice out at room temperature. I always refrigerate my leftover portions in sealed containers as soon as they are cooked, then transfer to the freezer once we have finished eating dinner, or within 1 hour of refrigerating.

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