January 9th 2020

Today’s dish of the day was a spicy tomato and pancetta risotto. It’s basically my latest edition of “How many different dishes can I make out of a tomato and red wine sauce”. Each dish starts with the same fundamentals: Chopped red onion, crushed garlic, and some kind of meat fried in a pan. In some form or other, to that is added: tomatoes, red wine, and a beef stock cube. The stock cube today was stirred into a litre of boiling water and mixed into the tinned tomatoes which were bubbling on a low heat.

To the mise en place, frying in the pan, I added the arborio rice. That’s probably how you spell it but I can’t be bothered to check. It was quite strange to fry rice, but that’s what BBCGoodFood told me to do.

See, on Sunday morning I sat down with BBC GoodFood open in my browser, and found five dishes I wanted to cook this week. Then I noted down all the ingredients, and went to the shop to buy them. That may seem pretty mundane and regular, but usually I just kinda go to the shop with nothing planned, buy food with nothing planned, and then cook food with nothing planned.

I decided this week was going to be different.

I know risotto isn’t particularly advanced cooking, but it’s something I’ve not cooked before, and today I even added my own touch to it: Chillis. Much like cheese and bacon (both also present in this dish), red chillis have a fascinating quality of improving any dish. Even a roast dinner, maybe. (See: cauliflower cheese and pigs in blankets)

The chillis went into the frying rice, as did a quarter of the tomato/stock, and some various spices for the hell of it. Don’t ask me how many tsp, I didn’t count. Keep adding a quarter of the stock, ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and when it does just scrape it off the bottom and pretend no one saw (because they didn’t. because no one was watching) then like 25 minutes later tear in some basil leaves (never bought them before in my life), stir for another minute then call it done. Don’t forget the parmesan (because flavour), and parsley (because aesthetic).

Until tomorrow, boom, risotto.


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