Avocado & Tomato Risotto

I was humble-bragging the other night. And whilst that’s not something to be proud of, here I feel it was justified. A friend was telling me what they were having for dinner, giving it all that. Talking them self up. It’s partly because they know I’ve fallen into bad habits lately, regularly not getting home until it’s too late to cook having played tennis (or, let’s be honest, enjoyed a cheeky little summer beer). But this ‘here’s my dinner’ shot was going to lead to a ‘and who’s the food blogger?’ mocking. I know fine well it was to get a rise. But two can play at that game, and that night I was playing better. So I humble bragged. “Oh you know, just this avocado and tomato risotto I just made on a whim” and sent this photo. **Drops mic. Boom.**

Avocado & Tomato Risotto

OK, it was a bit of a dick move, but justified. Right?

If I’m honest, I was a bit surprised how well it turned out. The avocado has just started to turn bad (hence a dish it was mashed in…) and I don’t like raw tomatoes. This has two in it, still very much raw. But as my culinary experiments go, it’s one of the better ones. You might also notice that there’s quite a lot of liquid in the bowl – risotto is not meant to be quite like that, no. But I got very impatient and was too hungry to wait for it to boil down once the rice was fully cooked.

It’s much creamier than a normal risotto because of the avocado, and if like me you tend to add lots of strong cheese (like Parmesan, Grano Padano, etc.) to your risotto you need to be careful not to swamp our green friend; either use a lot less than usual or switch to a mild and melty fromage, like Gouda.

Avocado & Tomato Risotto

This is a really fresh, summery risotto – perfect for a summer evening when you’re looking for something wholesome and exciting to eat. The avocado keeps this very creamy, which makes for a delicious change to the texture. Serves 2.

Ingredients

150g arborio rice
1 small-ish onion
1 clove of garlic
20g knob of butter
1 glass of white vermouth (e.g. regular Martini)
1 tbsp olive oil
50g gouda
1 large avocado
2 tomatoes
Parsley to decorate
1 litre of stock

Directions

First prepare all your ingredients – chop the onion finely (I often do half finely and half chunked, to give more texture), crush the garlic, peel, pit and scrape out the avocado, finely chop the tomatoes  and make the stock, if yours is coming from a cube. Also grate the gouda, but then set it to one side.

Put a large pan on the hob – preferably quite a deep one – and heat up the olive oil on a high heat. When it’s hot, chuck in the onion and garlic, frying them off – but crucially not colouring them. It takes about 4 minutes to soften. At this stage throw in half of your butter, swirlling the pan a bit to distribute it evenly. Next you pour in your rice, mixing to ensure that it is covered with the melted butter and onion mix. Continue to fry for about 40-50 seconds and the rice will become slightly translucent, when this happens pour in your vermouth.

It will sizzle and bubble, which is exactly what you want – it means the alcohol is burning off, leaving you with a sweeter, more flavoursome dish. When it is virtually all boiled down add in about a ladleful of stock and stir. At this stage, turn the heat down so that the pot is simmering, but not boiling furiously – you don’t want the rice to cook too quickly.

Continue stirring and adding stock when it’s getting low (there always needs to be liquid – or the rice will stick – but never too much) and after about 5 minutes season the pot with salt and pepper. The rice will take between 10 and 12 minutes to cook (depending on your definition of ‘simmer’ and how much rice is in the pot). If you look like you’re going to run out of stock before the rice is cooked, use water from a recently boiled kettle.

Once the rice is cooked remove from the hob, put in the avocado and half the cheese. Toss in the remaining butter and mix them in until the butter and cheese melt. Scatter over the tomatoes, remaining cheese and parsley. Serve immediately in a large bowl, with a large glass of wine, if you fancy it.