When I need easy but comforting food, I always turn to a large bowl of warm, flavourful rice – and using red wine as a base works beautifully. In the winter, serve this risotto in a deep bowl with a spoon, whilst snuggling under a thick blanket. Or it can make a special meal for two served with some lovely crusty bread, if you’re so inclined. My Mum used to serve us a version of this as children, served with kievs or sausages, so when I feel nostalgic I have mine with a couple of (veggie) sausages on the side. The quantities are easily doubled – or more – to feed more hungry bellies. This recipe first appeared in my cookbook, A Girl Called Jack.
Serves 2 at 43p each. Prices based on Sainsburys and Sainsburys Basics, other supermarkets offer similar products at comparable prices.
1 teaspoon oil, 3p (£3/3l)
2 cloves of garlic, 4p (35p/2 bulbs, Basics)
100g mushrooms, 21p (85p/400g, Basics)
A couple of pinches of dried mixed herbs, 2p (40p/14g, Basics)
150g rice, 10p (65p/1kg, Basics long grain rice)
75ml red wine, 39p (£3.85/750ml, Basics table wine)
1 tablespoon/15g tomato purée, 4p (55p/200g)
1 vegetable stock cube, dissolved in 700ml boiling water, 3p (30p/10 stock cubes, Basics)
Heat the oil gently in a frying pan.
Peel and finely slice the garlic and add to the pan. Gently clean any excess earth from the mushrooms with a clean tea towel or old, clean toothbrush, chop or break them into small chunks and add to the pan. Shake the herbs over and allow everything to cook together for a few minutes to soften.
Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. When the rice starts to turn translucent around the edges, pour in the wine and add the tomato purée, stirring constantly to prevent any of the rice sticking to the pan.
When the wine is almost all absorbed, start to add the stock, one ladleful at a time. Stir in each time until almost all the liquid has been absorbed and then add another ladleful of stock. Repeat until either the stock is gone or the rice is cooked to your liking. Sprinkle on some extra herbs and a little salt and pepper, and serve.
Photography by Susan Bell.
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