Roasted Red Pepper and Fresh Chilli Risotto

Sometimes, there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of piping hot risotto. The creaminess of the rice is punctuated here by the sweetness of the peppers and a little heat from the chilli.

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a starter

2 red peppers, deseeded and chopped into 1–2cm chunks

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 fresh mild red chilli, deseeded and sliced

1 small onion or shallot, peeled and diced

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

125ml white wine

200g Arborio or Carnaroli rice

1 teaspoon soft butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons grated fresh parmesan cheese

salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to the simmer.

Melt the olive oil and butter in a smaller pan over a low heat. Add the onion. Stir gently until it looks glossy and translucent. Add the rice. Stir through the oil, butter and onion for about two minutes or so, then add the wine. Bubble hard until the rice has absorbed most of the liquor, then begin to add the stock.

Add enough simmering stock to just cover the rice. Keep stirring it so it doesn’t stick. Keep adding the simmering stock as the rice absorbs it. As you get towards the end of the process (up to 20 minutes), add the stock in smaller quantities — you don’t want the final dish to be too wet.

Now for the peppers: as you’re cooking the rice, soften the garlic and chilli in olive oil in a sauté or frying pan over a low heat. As the garlic begins to take a little colour, add the peppers. Stir occasionally until the peppers are soft, hot, and have a lovely honey-brown hue. This may not take as long as the rice, in which case take the pan off the heat and set aside.

When the rice is cooked (it can take up to 20 minutes, until it’s nice and creamy and the grains still have a little bite to them), stir the peppers into it. Add the parmesan, black pepper and parsley and stir together. Then add salt to taste.

Finally, cover and rest the risotto for a few minutes — then serve.