|My favourite way to start a Sunday|
Sunday in our household is normally a day to chill, to catch up on tasks that are overdue, to see or have friends over for lunch. This Sunday, we had friends coming over and as they were vegetarians the idea of cooking a typical Sunday roast was off the menu. I was also feeling a bit under the weather so my lovely and helpful husband decided to take over the kitchen.
Dean is a good cook but when he learns a dish he tends to stick with it forever - a repertoire of about five. About 2 months ago, I suggested he should learn to cook a new dish. I showed him a new recipe and then he set about trying to master it. He cooked it for our friends this weekend and it was yummy.
The purists don’t like the idea of an oven baked risotto, but who cares…
It is very easy (a one pot meal), it looks great when it comes out of the oven, and tastes really delicious. And so as not to lose the theme of recent posts, another Mediterranean recipe for you, dear readers.
|Start cooking the onions,|
|rice and stir.|
|Add white wine,|
|tomato paste, tomatoes and vegetable stock.|
|Sprinkle the olives and fresh oregano before placing it in the oven.|
|Once cooked, add mozzarella and let it melt in the oven.|
|Add rocket and remaining olives.|
|Drizzle with some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice...|
|It was cooked to perfection.|
Oven-baked mozzarella, black olives and rocket risotto
2 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
2 large red onions, roughly chopped
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
225g Arborio rice
170ml dry white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
400g can of plum or chopped tomatoes
400g vegetable stock, plus extra in case it’s needed
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (or you can use 2 tsp of sweet paprika if you don't like it spicy)
5 sprigs of fresh oregano (about a palm full), chopped
160g pitted kalamata olives
125g organic mozzarella di bufala, pieces
50g organic rocket
Juice of half lemon to serve
Sea salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
Heat the olive oil, on a low medium heat, in an ovenproof lidded pan cook the onions until soft. Stir occasionally.
Add the garlic.
Add the rice and stir to coat in the juices.
Add the wine. Let it evaporate for 3 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and the vegetable stock. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
Add the paprika and mix.
Add the fresh oregano and half the olives. Season.
Put the lid on the casserole. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the rice is al dente.
Take it out of the oven. If it looks dry, add a little bit more vegetable stock.
Scatter the mozzarella over the rice and drizzle with olive oil.
Return the pan to the oven without the lid. Bake for 10 more minutes, until the mozzarella has melted. Take it out, rest for 10 minutes.
Serve it topped with the rocket leaves, olives, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
A healthy note: Mozzarella di bufala is a great source of vitamins, minerals and protein. Tomato stimulates the regeneration of liver tissue, tonifies the stomach, purifies the blood. When it’s cooked or consumed with olive oil, avocado or nuts, it has been shown to increase its anti-cancer properties. Rocket is a very good source of dietary fibre. It has very positive effects on the liver function and improves the blood quality. Olive oil contains essential fats, prevents oxidation of cholesterol, and helps prevent atherosclerosis and ischemic heart diseases, stimulates the secretion of bile, lowers levels of triglycerides, and regulates blood sugar.
Till next week!