Last weekend I thought I’d been having a busy time of it lately, then this week happened and I realised I’d had it easy. Just to add to my already simmering stress levels my car decided to break down. I’m looking ahead with hopeful anticipation to a less hectic week and a fully functioning car to get me from A to B. Oh and I totally missed my blogs second birthday but since it’s a blog and not a person I think I can get away with it. Meanwhile, Autumn has fully arrived with grey skies and rain pouring down. I’ve started making lots of stews and risottos. Anything I can eat out of a bowl makes me feel comforted and warmed. As much as I dislike the cold I do adore winter root vegetables and parsnips are always at the top of my list. As soon as they were available at the market I busted out one of my favourite winter risottos. It’s a starch fest but it is oh so good. I particularly love this after a long day at work. I get home, relax in a hot bath and then make this in my pyjamas. Music on in the background, I love the ritual of gently coaxing the risotto in to a lovely creamy texture. Parsnips are sweet and starchy, making the texture even creamier. The peas balance things out with a dash of vibrant green. Much needed vitamin C as cold season is upon us.
A few notes on my method. I use quinoa in my risottos. I’ve spoken about this before. I think it is a great idea as makes it an all round healthier and slightly lighter meal. It’s also a great way to hide quinoa for those who aren’t so keen. You get a slight nutty crunch but it really isn’t very noticeable. If you hate the thought then simply use more risotto rice instead. I also don’t use white wine to deglaze the pan as I never seem to have a bottle open at the right time! We’re not really white wine drinkers in this house.
Parsnip and Pea Risotto
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 shallots finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
Knob of butter
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in to fine matchsticks about an inch in length
½ cup frozen peas
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
35g (1 ½ oz) quinoa rinsed (optional)
75g (3oz) Arborio risotto rice (more if you aren’t using the quinoa)
600ml gluten free stock
White wine to deglaze the pan (optional)
Hard goats cheese or parmesan, grated
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or sauté pan. Add the shallot and gently sauté until translucent. Add the parsnips and continue to sauté until they are just beginning to soften slightly. About 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes more. Next add a knob of butter to the pan and when melted add the quinoa followed by the rice. Now add your thyme leaves. Cook for a couple of minutes before deglazing the pan with either a little stock or white wine. Once the wine or stock has been absorbed by the rice begin to ladle in your stock stirring gently between each addition. (I usually keep the stock heating in a pan on the back burner). Continue this process for 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is cooked and the stock is used up. If you run out of stock you can add more water from the kettle. 5 minutes before the risotto is ready add the frozen peas. When the peas are cooked through and the risotto has reached your desired consistency add some grated parmesan, turn off the heat and allow to sit covered for 2 minutes. Serve and grate more parmesan over the top.