Yet another dish that combines two of my favourite Italian meals, Nigella’s risotto bolognese is one of the most delicious meals I’ve made. Ever. It was so tasty and satisfying but being rice-based instead of pasta-based, it wasn’t too heavy (unless of course you had two serves which I wouldn’t blame you). This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s latest book ‘Kitchen’ and if you are having a dinner party any time soon I thoroughly recommend it. I think it would freeze rather well too if you were to cook a big batch to have on hand for easy freezer take-out.
It does take a little time to make but it is well worth the effort for the mouth-watering end result. It’s not very low on calories unfortunately so I don’t recommend it as an every-day meal. Don’t worry though, my next experiment is creating a low-calorie version that rivals the original.
To make the sauce, start by processing the onion, carrot, garlic, bacon, parsley, anchovies and celery into a fine mush. I’m not a fan of celery so I left it out and used two carrots instead. I also left out the anchovies but they’re optional anyway.
I did warn you that it wasn’t calorie free. Next step – melt the butter and olive oil in the bottom of a deep, oven-proof, lidded pot.
When the butter has melted, add the mush from the processor and cook it for a few minutes until it’s all soft. Keep stirring so nothing sticks to the bottom.
Add the meat to the pan and break it up while it browns then add the Marsala. I didn’t have any Marsala so instead, substituted it with 80mL white wine with 1 1/2 tsp of brandy.
Process the crushed tomatoes until they are smooth then add them to the pot.
Stir the tomato paste into the milk then add it to the pot along with 500mL stock and the bay leaves. The recipe says to use veal stock but as I didn’t have any, I used beef stock instead.
Bring the mixture to the boil, put the lid on then transfer it to the oven and cook it for 1 hour.
Take the pot out of the oven and put it over low heat. Prepare the rest of the stock and keep it over low heat as well. Pour the rice into the sauce with one ladleful of stock. I did what seems to happen to me a lot. I didn’t check that I had rice until I got it out of the cupboard for this step. It turned out I only had 250g left so that’s all I used. The recipe fed 6-8 with just 250g of rice so I think if you were making the full recipe it would make 8 large helpings at the very least.
Keep stirring and scraping the bottom as the mixture thickens. Add the stock a little at a time as this happens. Test the rice to see if it’s cooked after about 18 minutes. Mine took about 20 minutes all together and I added about 1 cup of the stock to my 250g rice.
When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and stir through the parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Dish it out and serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan. Enjoy!