This is a lovely warm and comforting risotto with the rather sumptuous addition of monkfish. Very filling and very easy to make, it’s very slow cooking process also makes for some relaxation time. I love sage and the sage-infused oil adds just perfect finishing touch to this tasty family supper dish.
What you need…
for the sage oil
40ml olive oil
A small handful of sage leaves, roughly chopped
for the risotto
1 x baking tray, lined with Bake O Glide or buttered to prevent the fish sticking
500ml water, boiled in the kettle
1 vegetable stockpot (I use Knorr)
16 – 20 asparagus spears (depending on how much you like your asparagus)
Splash of olive oil
Knob of butter
3 shallots, finely chopped
400g risotto rice
350ml white wine
Sea salt and black pepper
800g monkfish, cut into biggish bite-sized chunks
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
What to do…
Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.
In a small saucepan, tip in the oil and sage leaves and turn onto the lowest heat, leaving the sage to infuse into the oil whilst you do the rest of the recipe.
In another pan, make a vegetable stock by dissolving the stockpot into the boiling water, using a balloon whisk to speed up the process. Set aside.
Trim your asparagus (I just break mine roughly in the middle). Set aside the lovely tips and roughly chop the remaining woody ends, adding them to the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle heat, just to keep it warm.
In a third, wide saucepan, heat the oil and butter over a moderate heat. Add in the shallots and sauté until they are soft but not brown (5 minutes maybe). Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir on a casual basis until it has all been absorbed (I normally faff around doing other bits and pieces at this point).
Using a slotted spoon, remove the chopped asparagus from the stock and discard. Chuck the asparagus tips into the rice, season with sea salt and black pepper and then add 1 ladle of stock into the rice and turn the heat down so that it is very gently simmering. More casual stirring required. Once that first ladle has been absorbed, add another and keep going like this until all the stock has been used. It is important to do this slowly (15 – 20 minutes) and over a low heat to ensure that the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. If you run out of stock before the rice is properly cooked, add a little boiling water. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
As the last ladle goes in, place the monkfish chunks on your baking tray and drizzle over a little sage oil, including the leaves. Season and pop in the oven and cook for 10 minutes – it’s cooked when it bounces back when poked!
Whilst the fish is cooking, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Pop the lid on and let the risotto rest to become lovely, oozy and creamy for 5 minutes.
To serve, spoon or plonk a wee mountain of asparagus risotto onto each plate (definitely warmed) and then scatter over the monkfish, before drizzling over the remaining sage oil. Enjoy! Just enjoy – absolutely delightful.
Rather than peeling and chopping shallots, I buy the frozen ‘Cooks’ Ingredients Handful of Shallots’ from Waitrose, which simply require a quick shake out of the packet – much easier!
My Waitrose magazine for the idea, a little Jamie Oliver for the approach and quite a lot of Cindy-meddling with the ingredients!
Very, very easy but risotto takes time. Some good background music, someone to chat to in a warm kitchen with a cold glass of white wine produce perfect results!