Risotto doesn’t usually figure in the quick and easy recipe pantheon, but it is a frequent solution here. Preparation is minimal, and it lets you do other things while you are cooking; such as opening the mail, reading, drinking, getting changed ... you get the idea.
Here’s my risotto timeline when I get home late, but still want to eat well without having to stand at the stove or preparation board for very long:
Risotto with zucchini and chorizo.
1. Walk in from the cold. Place keys and wallet on fridge. Fill kettle and turn it on. Peel and chop one onion. Peel and score one garlic clove. Toss both into a pot with glug of olive oil. Light stove. Elapsed time, 1 minute 20 seconds.
2. Place one chicken stock cube (I use Massel) into glass jug. Fill with boiled water. Stir. Pour rice into warm oil in pot. Stir. Elapsed time, 4 minutes.
3. Take bottle of white wine from fridge, tip a good glugful into rice, stir. Elapsed time, 4 minutes 30 seconds.
4. Pour stock into rice. Stir. Turn down heat to lowest. Place lid on pot. Elapsed time, 5 minutes. Go and get changed.
5. Return to kitchen. Stir rice. Pour a glass of white wine. Open mail. Throw it in the bin. (The items with advertising lines on the front can be thrown out unopened. It is a mystery of advertising that while advertisers want you to open their mail, they ensure you don’t by putting an advertising line – Get a year’s subscription PLUS this genuine moonview telescope! – on the envelope.) Elapsed time, 9 minutes. Stir rice.
6. Dice a zucchini. Stir rice, folding through zucchini. Pour a glass of wine. Pick up current book (The Gold Seekers, Norman Bartlett, 1965). Read a page. (Conditions in Melbourne were appalling in 1852, when the city was besieged by criminal-class diggers having returned to the city laden with easily-extractable alluvial gold.) Elapsed time, 10 minutes.
7. Place chorizo sausage in a pan. Pour over remaining hot water from kettle. Cook. Stir rice. Sip wine. Continue reading. (It was reported that the barmaid in one city hotel became rich merely by shaking the gold dust out of the rug in the front bar every night. The author hints the gold may have been extracted from the diggers by other means.) Stir rice. Elapsed time, 11 minutes.
8. Slice thin layers of parmesan from block with vegetable peeler. Stir rice. Read on. (The digger’s licence fee was imposed in part to dissuade workers from leaving their posts in search of instant riches. Farms were abandoned and animals left to die, ships were deserted and much-needed foodstuffs lost, wives and children were forsaken and left to fend for themselves.) Stir rice, adjust fluid. Elapsed time, 14 minutes.
9. Remove chorizo from pan, slice into medallions the size of 1856 gold half sovereigns. Stir rice and serve, adding slices of parmesan and chorizo and a shake of parsley flakes and cracked pepper. (Whether Ballarat was the birthplace of democracy or the birthplace of the cashed-up bogan remains a debate a hundred and sixty years later.) Elapsed time, 16 minutes.
10. Eat. Elapsed time, who's counting? Top up glass. Turn page.