I love risotto, but don't cook it as often as I'd like because it requires so much attention. Much like a toddler, you can't leave it alone for a moment, you have to stand there and STIR and STIR and STIR. This is fine if you're Nigella Lawson and find this kind of domestic slavery appeallingly kitsch, but some of us have no au pair to watch the children and lives to be getting along with, and can't cope with needy rice at tea time.
I decided to investigate alternatives and found recipes for oven baked risottos, which sounded wonderful. Then I thought... I've made rice pudding in the slow cooker before, so why not risotto? It's the same principle in savoury format, surely? So I found a recipe for an oven baked risotto and changed and tweaked and played with it... and present to you the ultimate in slatternly stodge, the slow cooked risotto.
I specify fresh or frozen veg. I find ready chopped frozen onion a bit of a lifesaver in getting a quick start to dinners, you could also use frozen soffrito mix (onion, carrot and celery very finely chopped). The frozen sliced peppers are great for cooking or pizzas, and using both makes this almost a storecupboard staple. You can skip the goats cheese if you don't like it, just making it a tomato and pepper risotto (and a vegan option if you use a vegan spread instead of butter as your mantecatura). If you don't want to use wine, just up the hot water to 600ml and add it straight to the slow cooker after frying off the onion and rice.
Slow-cooked pepper and goats cheese risotto
250g arborio risotto rice
1 500g carton passata
1 vegetable stock cube
200ml white wine
450ml hot water
2-3 mixed peppers, sliced thinly, or a couple of handfuls frozen sliced peppers
1 small onion, finely chopped, or some frozen chopped onion
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
splash of olive oil.
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp garlic powder
150g soft goats cheese
large knob butter
Heat your oil in a frying pan and saute the onion until soft. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes until it starts to turn translucent, tip in the wine, reduce to a simmer and cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile, add the peppers to the slow cooker. Tip in the oniony rice and wine from the pan, add the carton of passata and dissolve the stock cube in the hot water before adding to the mix. Stir in the garlic powder, thyme, pepper and vinegar, set the slow cooker to low and cook for 3.5 hours, or 1.5 hours on high. Stir occasionally if you can.
After this time, add the goats cheese and butter to the slow cooker, stir until thoroughly combined, and cook for a further 20-30 minutes. You can serve with crusty bread, garlic bread, salad, veg, or just on it's own.