I’m a huge risotto fan and make them pretty often, but I have to say this is a particularly blindingly good one. Luxurious, decadent, dreamy, sumptuous, comforting, warming. And all without too many calories, much effort and minimal expenditure. And it’s here that I should really point out it wasn’t entirely my own recipe, but more on that later!. If you like your beans, rosemary and risotto then I urge you to make this, I’m confident you won’t be disappointed. The creaminess of the beans works wonderfully in a risotto, adding a luxurious depth of texture and flavour to an otherwise frugal dish. And whilst I’m on the subject of risotto I’d love to hear what your favourites are?
Now there’s a little story as to how I came to back this heavenly supper….so stay with me here, this blog’s a bit of a longie today! I’ve recently been perusing a new to me book, The Best-Ever Easy-to-Use Herb Cookbook by Joanna Farrow, a gift from the lovely Karen of Lavender and Lovage, for winning November’s Herbs on Saturday Challenge (for my Roasted Wild Mushroom Pizza blog).
It’s a lovely book, full of really interesting and innovative herby recipes from soups and salads, baking and mains through to desserts and sweets with absolutely gorgeous photography throughout. Being a bit of a risotto fiend I was immediately struck by a recipe for Rosemary Risotto with Borlotti Beans, having never used beans in a risotto before and happening to have a huge tub of homegrown borlotti begging to be used.
Now the observant amongst you may be confused at my recipe for Cannellini Beans when I’m writing about Borlotti. On inspection of the borlotti, in readiness to soak and boil, I sadly discovered my tub to be jumping with nasty little mite type bugs. I even tried to wash and soak a few but the bugs had penetrated the skins and the bugs and borlotti had to be binned. And fed instead to my chickens. But not without cooking in a tasty little stew first. My chickens must be the fussiest chickens to strut the earth, they don’t do raw veggie or fruit peeling but will eagerly peck away at anything cooked. So every now and again I treat them to a pot of slow cooked peelings and chopped old veggies, cooked for free on the top of my woodburner, and this time it included the buggy borlotti. And they loved them! Though I wonder if their coop was unusually stinky that night? Does anyone else cook for their chickens, or is it only crazy little me?!
As well as switching the beans, I also strayed a little from the original recipe by using shallots instead of an onion since we still have a surplus of homegrowns to use and besides I virtually always use shallot in a risotto. I added a few sticks of my celery too as it’s still growing here, I say a few as my plants are smaller than shop boughts. I also substituted mascarpone for half fat creme fraiche as let’s just say I’m cutting back on the calories a little this month. I don’t do the ‘D’ word. Last, but possibly most importantly, I oomphed up the quantity of rosemary. By about four times! The original recipe, for four people, called for a teaspoon of rosemary. I halved the quantity to serve to two people and added a dessertspoon, which in my opinion was bang on the flavour.
I’m entering my blog to quite a number of challenges, so bare with me here! Firstly, of course, to Karen’s Lavender and Lovage Herbs on Saturday challenge, as without my previous win this recipe would never have entered my realm of culinary possibilities!
Secondly to Bookmarked Recipes, an event held by Jacqueline over at Tinned Tomatoes and one I somehow as yet have never entered, so here’s my first ever entry!
Thirdly to Credit Crunch Munch, as I hope you’ll agree with is a pretty frugal munch, an event jointly hosted by Camilla of Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours.
Fourthly (yes really!) to another new challenge I’ve just come across, Flavours of Italy, a European food event held by Simply Food, and this month hosted by Divya’s Culinary Journey,
and with the handy theme of Italy, home obviously of the wonderful dish that is Risotto.
And finally to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays as it so happens to be a Monday (not that I think that matters?!) and my risotto’s made from scratch.
Phew, are you still with me? Now on with the recipe:
Rosemary & Cannellini Bean Risotto
Great for family or grown up dinners, dinner parties (it’s that good!), vegetarians, mid-week or weekend suppers
a tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Shallots, finely diced
a stick of Celery, finely diced
a large clove of Garlic, finely chopped or crushed
140g of Risotto Rice
90ml of White Wine
450 to 500ml of hot Veggie Stock (I used my favourite Marigold)
2/3rds of a 400g tin of Cannellini or Borlotti Beans (drained and rinsed) or 85g of soaked and cooked beans (though I wouldn’t advise cooking this few beans on their own, I soaked and cooked a huge batch for several recipes – look out for them in subsequent blogs!)
2 tablespoons of half fat Creme Fraiche (or full fat or Mascarpone if you’re feeling more indulgent)
a dessert spoon of chopped fresh Rosemary
35g of Parmesan or Grana Padano Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan on a gentle heat. Fry the onion, celery and garlic for 5 minutes until very soft, stirring regularly.
Stir in the rice ensuring the grains get a good coating of the oil. Pour in the wine and stir. Allow to simmer away on a gentle heat. Once most of the wine’s evaporated pour in a ladleful of the hot stock. Continue to stir at intervals adding further ladlefuls of hot stock every time the last one’s nearly all absorbed.
Meanwhile prep the beans. Blitz about two-thirds of the beans in a food processor or with a stick blender. Set the remainder aside.
Once the risotto rice is about three-quarters cooked, stir in the blitzed beans. Continue to cook the risotto, adding more stock as and when required.
When the rice is tender, but still has a tiny bit of ‘bite’, stir in the remaining whole beans, creme fraiche, Parmesan, rosemary and a generous pinch of black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to suit. Cover the pan and leave the risotto to rest for 5 minutes so that the risotto absorbs the flavours fully and the rice finishes cooking.
Serve, with extra Parmesan if you wish. And a glass of crisp white wine.
Here’s some of my other Risotto Recipes you might like to try:
February 4th, 2013 at 3:33 pm
Ooh I can’t wait to make this as it sounds fabulous and I’ve never had beans in a risotto either so look forward to trying it very soon! Thank you for entering such brilliant and frugal dish into this months Credit Crunch Munch!
February 5th, 2013 at 8:55 am
Thanks Camilla. I was so impressed at how creamy a risotto can be with the addition of beans, it works wonderfully! Please try!
February 4th, 2013 at 3:44 pm
I love the use of beans in this risotto! I’ve never tried risotto with beans, but it’s sounds like the perfect way to add some protein and heartiness to the dish. Sorry to hear about the bug problem with your borlotti 😦 And I’d have a tough time by-passing the mascarpone – love that stuff so much! Thanks so much for sharing…
February 5th, 2013 at 8:56 am
Oh I’m sure it would be amazing with Mascarpone! But I was attempting to make the dish as frugal and healthy as I could at the time 🙂
February 4th, 2013 at 3:59 pm
This sounds really luxurious – it may even tempt my risotto-hating daughter into rethinking, she really likes cannellini beans!
February 5th, 2013 at 9:01 am
Now I despised risottos until I was somewhere in my 20s – then suddenly adored them! Though this was probably to do with what my mum used to put in them, I always remember them being soggy, bland and full of scraggy leftover chicken bits (I’ve never had a leftover chicken risotto since!). Funnily enough she’s an exceptionally good cook, but her risottos weren’t quite up to par!. I reckon if your daughter like’s cannellini beans this could be the one to win her over, it’s a very different risotto to the norm. Good luck!
February 4th, 2013 at 4:03 pm
I have similarly fussy chickens. They will eat almost any veg peelings if cooked & if I add rice or pasta are in seventh heaven. The risotto sounds fantastic & I will definitely give it a go soon
February 5th, 2013 at 9:04 am
Thanks, glad it’s not just me cooking up a few treats for their chickens, or with fussy chickens! Mine LOVE rice and pasta too, though there’s always a bit of a scuffle on when they’re treated to any. Have you ever watched them eat spaghetti? It’s hilarious!
February 4th, 2013 at 8:42 pm
This looks really good. I must admit that I don’t cook for the chickens, but I have been known to cook for the dogs… 😆
February 5th, 2013 at 9:06 am
Ah the dogs, now they have a three course dinner prepared my moi every night! Not entirely true but they always get first digs at the leftovers before the chickens. Pecking order.
February 4th, 2013 at 11:51 pm
THANKS for this LOVELY entry, the challenge and linky is open now here:
February 5th, 2013 at 9:06 am
Thanks Karen, I did have a look for it yesterday and couldn’t find! Shall officially enter now.
February 5th, 2013 at 12:47 pm
Another lovely idea I can’t wait to try. Comforting, warming, decadent without much expenditure, calories etc sounds just the job!
February 5th, 2013 at 1:11 pm
It is, I’m mightily impressed. In fact it shall be made again this week…currently soaking another load of beans!
February 5th, 2013 at 5:09 pm
Mmmmm – need I say more! This looks right up my street and very ‘comforting’!!!! You are on a roll 🙂 xx
February 7th, 2013 at 11:33 am
It’s my winter comfort food heaven at the minute. And since I have another load of beans soaking shall be our frugal dinner AGAIN tonight!
February 6th, 2013 at 10:41 pm
Going to try this. We are all risotto heads in this family, think it’ll be right up our street. Lovely.
February 7th, 2013 at 11:35 am
Oh please do try! I’ve never added beans to a risotto before but it so works, and just make sure you have plenty of rosemary.
February 19th, 2013 at 10:28 am
I feel the bug pain, I had to throw half my flour out recently! I once soaked some chickpeas and loads of little dead fleas rose to the surface, I scratched for days and still get itchy thinking about it!
Lovely recipe! I am a huge fan of beans in dishes!
Many thanks for sending this to Credit Crunch Munch, and sorry for taking forever to get around to commenting!
February 20th, 2013 at 12:47 pm
Oh fleas in the chickpeas don’t sound good Helen!. I love cooking with beans too, though this is my first, and very successful, attempt at adding them to a risotto. So lusciously creamy!
February 25th, 2013 at 2:29 pm
I love the idea of beans in risotto, something Ive never tried. What a shame abouth the borlotti bugs, yuk! I have some home grown borlotti beans that Ive dried, I think Ive found what Im going to use them for!
February 28th, 2013 at 2:04 pm
Oh you must try them in a risotto, amazingly creamy and sumptuous. They’re a beautiful bean to grow aren’t they? So pretty. I’m still mourning the loss of my buggy beans!
February 28th, 2013 at 3:57 pm
GOSH! I thought I had commented here, as I LOVED this when I came to see it after you added it to the linky! But my comment has disparue-d! I am SO pleased you like the book and that is a DELECTABLE looking dish Louisa! Karen
February 28th, 2013 at 6:49 pm
[…] 1. Rosemary Risotto with Borlotti Beans from Louisa from Chez Foti: […]
March 2nd, 2013 at 12:50 pm
[…] over Chez Foti made a delicious and frugal Rosemary & Cannellini Bean Risotto which she says is good enough to entertain with! Plus there was an amusing tail of beans, bugs and […]