Keep a pack of risotto rice in the cupboard and you'll never be stuck for a quick, satisfying meal. Follow this basic recipe for a classic Risotto Milanese, or add extra ingredients for endless variations.
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.
*The secret of a perfect risotto is to have your stock simmering in a pan while you cook the rice. This way the temperature of the rice never drops.
*Adding the stock gradually ensures that each ladleful will be fully absorbed, preventing mushy rice.
*The rice is cooked when it is tender and creamy but with the very slightest bite at the centre of each grain.
Leftover risotto can be made into risotto cakes for an instant meal. Cool the risotto quickly, then chill and use within one day. Take about 4 heaped tbsp of the mixture for each cake. Roll into balls, and coat in fresh white breadcrumbs, then flatten into small rounds. Fry in a little butter or oil until golden. Serve with grilled meats or fish and a green salad.