Cooking with[out] gas

Posted: June 15, 2011 in Recipes
Tags: , , , , ,

Okay, so there’s a gas shortage in Cape Town. Probably in the country, but who cares. What’s of paramount importance is that there’s a shortage in Cape Town. And it’s raining. Lots. Which means the SA default – the family braai – just won’t cut it.

Funny how, not having a stove top to cook on, instantly wipes from memory every dish that can be prepared other than, well, on the stove top. So to Google we go and, half an hour’s research later, the kitchen is a veritable hive of activity as the first oven-baked risotto is flung together – a patchwork of several recipes sewn together with some inventive, need-driven alterations.

This, then, is what was presented:

Mixed Veg Oven-baked Risotto

You’ll need:

1 x microwave oven
1 x electric oven
2 or 3 leeks, cut into rings
1 red/yellow pepper, cut into thin-ish strips
1 large punnet of fresh mushrooms, sliced
some garlic chives, chopped (or non-garlic if you want…there were garlic ones in the fridge, begging for attention)
1 packet of dried fancy mushrooms (can’t remember which ones they were)
a dash of olive oil
a knob of butter
1 cup long-grain rice, like Arborio
grated Parmesan cheese
2,5 cups hot chicken or veg stock (or 2 cups of stock and half a cup white wine – there was only red wine in the house at the time)

Now you:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Reconstitute the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain off the water, but keep it. Squeeze out any excess water from the mushrooms and chop up (the mushrooms, not the water, silly). Add this water to the stock.

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a not-too-deep oven dish. Add the knob of butter and bang into the microwave oven for a few seconds. Add all the veg and return to microwave oven. Cook for about, oh, I don’t know, four minutes or so. Can’t say I timed this step… Don’t overcook – it still has some time to do in the oven.

Remove dish. In a separate little dish, melt a tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Add rice and stir to coat. Add this mixture to the veggies. Add hot stock and stick dish into oven, uncovered. Go have a glass of wine so that you’re not tempted to stir it.

All the recipes said to cook for 20 minutes until al dente, but mine were still rock hard, so I cooked it for another five minutes, and then set off on another 10 minutes,  even upping the heat a bit. It didn’t need all of the last 10 minutes though. Anyway, cook until done, but not mushy. The rice must still have a bit of resistance.

Add lots of Parmesan cheese (no, really, lots – I didn’t have freshly grated so I used a 60g tub from Woolies, which isn’t cardboard like some of the other varieties). Stir cheese through dish and return to oven for a minute or two. Season with salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. If your fridge is well stocked, top with some fresh Parmesan shavings.

Serve, and be suitably amazed that you can actually get a creamy risotto without all the elbow-numbing stirring that the stove-top variety requires.

We had a meat-free day, so I just piled the risotto into three dishes and we had ourselves a feast. The recipe will make four servings if you’re having meat with it.

Sorry, I didn’t take photos – we were way too hungry! Besides, I had no idea it was going to turn out so nice. Next time I make it, I’ll duly record the process.


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