This is a brilliant midweek supper – the risotto is oven baked, so no standing over a hot stove stirring a pot. If you have nasturtiums in your garden, get picking! These colourful edible flowers are great for adding colour and a peppery watercress flavour to dishes.
The easy to grow nasturtium is an annual flowering plant whose edible leaves and orange, red and yellow petals have a flavour that is similar to watercress. The buds and seeds, picked when soft and pickled in vinegar, can be used as a substitute for capers. Nutritionally, they have significant quantities of Vitamin C and iron and they deter insects if you plant them alongside veggies. Shredded, the leaves can be used as a garnish or in a stir fry. The flowers make a delightfully pretty addition to any salad (although I usually have to gently prompt my guests to eat them, otherwise they tend to get left on the side of the plate!).
Saffron Risotto with Nasturtium Pesto
2 cups nasturtium (leaves)
12 cup nasturtium (thinly sliced, stems)
12 cup toasted pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil
14 cup freshly grated parmesan (cheese)METHOD
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; prepare an ice-water bath and set aside. Add nasturtium leaves to boiling water; cook for 10 seconds. Drain and transfer to ice-water bath until cool. Drain and set aside.
- Place leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and oil in the jar of a blender; blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and fold in stems and cheese.
RISOTTO serves 6
Tbsp olive oil
Large pinch saffron threads
380g arborio rice
125ml white wine
1.25 litres chicken stock
30g grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat the oil in a large flameproof, ovenproof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the rice and saffron and stir to coat. Add the wine and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the wine evaporates. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Use a fork to separate the grains.
- Stir in the parmesan and butter. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes. Season, top with the nasturtium pesto and serve.