About this recipe: Moist risotto served with a simple side salad makes a satisfying carbohydrate-rich meal, and the risotto can be endlessly varied – all sorts of other vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned or dried) can be used instead of broad beans. To achieve the perfect texture, use risotto rice such as arborio and add the hot stock in stages.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
*To use fresh broad beans instead of frozen, allow 1 kg (2¼ lb) in pods. Shell them and add with the first batch of stock in step 3. *Replace the broad beans with 300 g (10½ oz) baby spinach leaves, stirring them into the cooked risotto just before the Parmesan cheese. This way, the spinach is freshly wilted and full flavoured when served. *Add 3 tbsp pesto with the last of the stock and omit the Parmesan, pine nuts and basil. *For a mushroom risotto, omit the broad beans and use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock. Add 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves with the first addition of stock. Just before the risotto has finished cooking, fry 450 g (1 lb) mixed fresh mushrooms, halved or sliced if large, in 30 g (1 oz) butter or 2 tbsp olive oil over a high heat for 3–4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir the mushrooms and their juices into the risotto with the Parmesan. For an even richer mushroom flavour, add 1 tbsp finely chopped dried porcini mushrooms with the wine.
*Rice is one of the most important staple crops, the very basis of life for millions of people worldwide. Polishing the grains to produce the familiar white varieties partially removes B vitamins; however, in this recipe, both broad beans and pine nuts provide B1 and niacin. *Along with other beans and pulses, broad beans are high in protein and low in fat, and offer good amounts of dietary fibre.
A, C, E, folate, niacin, calcium, B1, B6, B12, copper, potassium, zinc
It's delicious - the tastes go very well together! We have a few variations which we've now tried. We lightly roast the pine nuts before putting them in, we sometimes use a bit (okay a lot) more garlic, and we've used drained sun-dried tomatoes in oil (because we can't always find the dry-packed ones). Cheddar is also nice instead of Parmesan. - 18 May 2012