On my recent holiday walking the Great Ocean Walk, we stayed at an ecolodge for a couple of nights and the meals were fully catered. The food was good but the dish that particularly stood out for me was a risotto with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and goats cheese. Not a flavour combination I would have thought of doing but it was just delicious. The olives added a lovely saltiness, the goats cheese a creaminess, the tomatoes a sweetness and the rice and stock bound all the flavours together. It was beautifully balanced but more importantly it was a recipe I was pretty sure I could repeat at home.
The risotto at the ecolodge was prepared in a thermamix and I presume there is a thermamix recipe out there for this dish if you own one. My friend Meredith loves her thermamix, but I just can’t justify the cost of the purchase. Case in point, I easily made this risotto in my dutch oven, that was a fraction of the cost of a thermamix. But if I was cooking more than once a day and for many then it might be a different story.
I used the basic risotto elements from the mushroom risotto that I love and made a few changes to create this recipe with a minor tweak to the risotto at the ecolodge – I used goats curd not goats cheese. It is not a low maintenance risotto recipe – you do have to stick around and keep stirring. While I am a fan of recipes that I can put on the stove or in the oven and leave while I get on with other stuff, I also find the stirring of a risotto quite soothing. It is great thinking time, there is something hypnotic about the process of making sure the rice doesn’t stick.
Preparation time for this recipe is about 10 minutes and cook time is about 35 minutes, completely doable on a work night. Plus it is a one pot meal and only has about 430 calories (according to myfitnesspal, though some of the ingredients seemed to vary widely spending on the option I picked).
A simple risotto that is full of flavour.
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 an onion, chopped finely
- 1 tsp of minced garlic (equal to one clove of garlic)
- 175g of arborio rice
- 10 olives, pitted and halved
- 2-3 tbs of sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 75ml of dry white wine
- 600ml of chicken stock (I use a fake vegetarian version)
- 12.5g butter
- 2 tbs of goats curd
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive over a medium heat in a large heavy based saucepan
- Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes
- Stir in the rice and coat with the oil.
- Add the white wine, sun dried tomatoes and olives and stir in to the rice.
- Keeping stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Add a ladle of the chicken stock and stir until it is absorbed, then add another ladle.
- Stir until the liquid is absorbed and keep repeating this process until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- Stir the butter in to the risotto.
- Pop the risotto in to bowls and place a tablespoon of goats curd on top of each serve. I like the look of this in terms of serving the risotto. Everyone then mixes in their goats curd but you can stir the goats curd in prior to serving if you prefer. The added bonuses of doing this when you serve is that it means you can serve a vegan version if you have people with different requirements.
- I tend to let everyone season their own risotto. The olives add a saltiness to the dish so no seasoning may be required, depending on your tastes.
The cook time can vary quite a bit depending on how hot I have the stove. I find this recipe works better if you keep the heat on medium and work slowly. If you turn up the heat, the rice may not be cooked when you run out of stock. If this happens, just add a bit more stock