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James Street South Cookery School: Courgette risotto, baked rice with chicken

Courgette risotto, from James Street South Cookery School

WHEN the weather is like this we want to rely on classic dishes that we can roll out without any hassle and that are so delicious there are never going to be any complaints… or leftovers!

A good risotto is one of the nicest dishes to eat and, once perfected, can be enhanced with any vegetable, meat or cheese. The baked rice is a paella-type dish which is enhanced with chicken and an oil dressing, a great dish for kids to enjoy.

COURGETTE RISOTTO

(Serves four)

350g Arborio rice

6 shallots, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

100ml dry white wine

75g butter

500ml warm vegetable stock

1 tblsp crème fraiche

1 tblsp Parmesan cheese, grated – and more for the table when serving

2 yellow courgettes

2 green courgettes

oil

Salt/Pepper

Method

Start by cooking the shallots and garlic in the butter on a gentle heat. Add the rice until all the butter has been soaked up. Add the white wine and then, one ladle-full at a time, add your vegetable stock, ensuring the liquid is soaked up before adding each amount.

It will be ready when all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice tastes soft. If it is not, add water until the rice is soft. Once soft, add a tablespoon of crème fraiche.

To cook the courgettes, dice one yellow and one green courgette and thinly ribbon the other two. Place some oil in a frying pan and cook the diced courgette until slightly golden. Before you take them off the heat, add the courgette ribbons and cook for two minutes. Remove from the heat and add to your risotto and serve.

Dress with a tablespoon of grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with more Parmesan at the table.

BAKED RICE WITH CHICKEN

(Serves four)

300g paella rice, rinsed

2 x red peppers, chopped

2 x medium onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

4 x skinned chicken thighs, sliced

1 x tin whole tomatoes

250ml chicken stock

Start by preheating the oven to 180C. Slice up the chicken breasts and, in a frying pan, cook off in a little rapeseed oil until cooked, then remove from the pan. You now want to cook the onions and peppers until translucent. It is OK to use the same pan. You can use these juices from the pan in the casserole and it is always a good idea to de-glaze the pan. This means adding a little of the chicken stock to the pan to remove all the flavours.

Place the cooked ingredients in a large casserole pot with the rice, pouring over the tinned tomatoes and stirring thoroughly before adding the chicken stock. Cook for 30 minutes with the lid on. Season to taste.

To make the herb oil, which is drizzled on top, blitz together 50g parsley, 25g spinach, 25g mint, three anchovies, two teaspoons of capers in brine, one clove garlic, chopped, 25ml of olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender. This oil will last for 24 hours in an airtight container. You will also need to wrap in tinfoil as it discolours in the light.

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