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Basic risotto: 10 meals!
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Basic risotto: 10 meals!

Serves: 4
Time to make: 40 mins
$AVER recipes were costed at $5 or below at the time of publication. We are mindful that seasonal and regional availability and price fluctuations occur - click here for healthy shopping tips for greater savings.


Tomato, feta and pine nut risotto: (Pictured) Reduce stock to 4 cups and add one 400g can tomato purée to stock (Step 1). Toast 35g pine nuts by stirring over heat in a heavy-based frying pan. Stir through 100g chopped feta at the end of cooking. If preferred, garnish with chopped fresh mint or rosemary.

Smoked chicken, broccoli and almond risotto: Toast 35g slivered almonds by stirring over heat in a heavy-based frying pan. Cut 1 head of broccoli in small florets and steam until just cooked. When risotto is almost cooked, stir in 1 chopped lean smoked chicken breast and cooked broccoli. Continue cooking for at least 5 minutes. Serve topped with toasted almonds.

Mushroom risotto: Cook 200g sliced button mushrooms in 2 teaspoons reduced-fat spread. Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to stock (Step 1). Add cooked mushrooms at the end of cooking. Heat for 1-2 more minutes before serving. For a meaty option, add some lean bacon to onion and garlic (Step 2).

Risotto with prawns: Omit stock and parmesan. Instead, make stock first with 350g raw prawns in 5 1/2 cups boiling water with 1 bay leaf, a few sprigs fresh parsley and a few peppercorns. Cook for about 4 minutes then remove prawns and peel. Set aside to use as garnish. Return shells to saucepan and simmer for 10 more minutes. Strain. Return broth to saucepan with 1 tablespoon tomato paste.

Risotto balls: Make one of the risotto variations (above). Stir 2 lightly beaten eggs through cooled risotto and shape mixture (with hands) into egg-sized balls. If mixture is too moist, add breadcrumbs (1 tablespoon at a time) until mixture holds. Poke a hole in the centre of each ball and fill with 1 mozzarella cube. Close hole over with rice mixture. Spread a little flour on a plate. Beat another egg in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons trim milk. Place some toasted wholemeal breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl. Roll each ball in flour, dip in egg mixture then roll in breadcrumbs. Heat olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Fry balls (in batches) until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels while other balls are cooking. Serve hot. (Note: this makes enough for 6-8 serves.)

Leek and lemongrass risotto: Thinly slice 1 large leek. Cook with onion and garlic (Step 2). Grate 1 lemon for zest and save lemon juice. When rice is cooked and creamy, add lemon rind and lemon juice with 2 sliced spring onions, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and 2 tablespoons finely sliced lemongrass. Heat through. Serve topped with freshly ground black pepper.

Baked risotto: Make one of the risotto variations (above). Stir 2 lightly beaten eggs through cooled risotto and spoon into a greased springform or ring tin. Press down and bake at 170°C for about 30-40 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then turn out and serve.

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