Parsnips might not be the first thing you think of when
it comes to Italian cuisine, but I had a hunch they might work really well with
the creaminess of a risotto, and I think I was right – the earthy sweetness of
the parsnips is balanced with a bit of spice and the gorgeous gooiness of
mozzarella. You can either serve this straight up as a risotto, or allow it to
cool and form into balls to make arancini. If you’re only serving two, you
should have enough to do both.
A couple of pints of vegetable stock
A bit of grated cheddar, to serve
Makes enough for
two, with a bit left over
Begin by finely dicing the garlic, onion, celery and
parsnip. The smaller the pieces, the smoother the risotto will be. Then get all
the vegetables sizzling gently in a pan over a low heat, with a generous scoop
of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. In the meantime, boil the kettle and make
up a jug of vegetable stock.
Keep stirring the vegetables as they fry (add more butter
if it’s looking a little dry), then once the onion is translucent and the
parsnip is nicely softened, add the rice and stir to coat with melted butter. Sprinkle
generously with turmeric and a teaspoon of curry powder.
Turn up the heat a bit and start adding the stock a bit
at a time, stirring in between and waiting until the stock is absorbed before
adding any more. Top up your jug of stock with hot water when it starts to get
It should take about 20 minutes for the rice to cook.
Once the grains are starting to look plump and juicy, have a taste and keep
adding more boiling water as necessary, then once it’s done, season well. Grate
a generous handful of cheddar cheese and stir through until it melts.
Next, divide the risotto in half and set one lot aside to
cool, for arancini the following day. Roughly chop half the mozzarella ball and
stir through the remaining half of the rice, and serve up straight away.
When you come to make the arancini, the rice should be
completely cold. First, sprinkle a little flour onto a plate. Scoop up a
handful of risotto, press a small chunk of mozzarella into the middle, and then
mould into a ball around it. Roll it lightly in the flour and then give it a
shake to get rid of any excess. Repeat with all the risotto leftovers, then pop
into a frying pan over a high heat with a good splash of olive oil. Move around
gently with a wooden spoon to crisp up the arancini on all sides. Once they’ve
turned a nice golden brown, scoop out carefully and serve up with a fresh green
salad and a little cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.