Risotto has a reputation for being fiddly and difficult to make.

So many things can go wrong they say. Overcook it and you get a scorched pot of sticky mush. Undercook it and you get a crunchy mess.

But the truth is risotto is actually quite simple to make.

Anyone can achieve that wonderful traditional flavour and texture.

The key is to understand the different types of risotto rice and choosing the correct varieties to match your ingredients.

In fact, the Italians have been cooking it since the fifteenth century and it’s still a family favourite.

Recipe: Risotto with scallops and concentrated basil sauce

Preparation time - 30 minutes. Difficulty level - Medium.


For the risotto:

300 g Carnaroli del Pavese rice.
500 ml fish stock.
1 small teaspoon cuttle fish ink.
4 good-sized, shelled scallops thoroughly cleaned. 60 g butter.
pink pepper.

For the sauce:

500 ml stock.
a dash white wine.
200 g butter.
100 g basil leaves.
a pinch salt.


To make the sauce:

Pour the stock into a pan, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Add the dash of wine.
Blend the butter, basil and salt in a blender or food processor and use as much as you need to bind the liquid.

To make the risotto:

Heat half the butter in a heavy-based pan and add the rice, stir well to coat and cook until it starts to brown.

Add the stock a time bit at a time, stirring well and continue to cook.

Meanwhile quickly cook the scallops cut into disc shapes in a non-stick pan (3 per plate) without any seasoning. Season with salt and dust with freshly-grated pink pepper.

When the rice is cooked 'al dente', remove from the heat and beat to a creamy consistency with the remaining butter.

Serve the risotto in dishes with the hot sauce drizzled around it and the scallop discs arranged on top.

Recipe courtesy of www.risogallo.com.