My Mam and Dad try to stay out of Dublin city as much as possible. They both continued their studies there when they were younger (my Dad for computer programming, my Mam trained as a nurse) so they’ve had many dates and dinners there and now seem to have had their fill. They go in from time to time for dinner with friends, but generally find the traffic and city parking just plain annoying. We live close enough to other towns to fulfil shopping/eating/entertainment needs so they’re all set. That is of course until I come home!
When I’m home for a few days, I always persuade my Mam to go on a city date with me, and of course she obliges…and always enjoys it. We go to her favourites – Avoca, Brown Thomas, The Kilkenny Design Centre and Knobs and Knockers both on Nassau street. Knobs and Knockers..with a name like that, you can’t help but feel immature even just for a moment.
On one of our last trips, I figured since we were on Nassau street, there would be no harm in having a little browse around the books in READS! Of Nassau Street! (Dubliners will get this.) On a table filled with various books on special offer, The Manhattan Diet by Eileen Daspin caught my eye. Not so much for the content on how to follow the diet, as I always fail at these things and just believe in eating healthily, but more for the recipes.
There’s a huge range in the back for every kind of meal, none boring, all healthy and the book was only €6.00. Returning to Salamanca and packing it away, forgetting about it’s existence until a spring clean, I revisited the recipes and made this risotto last week. It turned out a little dry, crunchy and although full of flavour, the texture was just too disappointing! Adapting a small change to the recipe, it came out perfectly this evening.
I can sense what you’re thinking…and I know, it does look rather unappetising. But it tastes good. It’s full of rich, potent flavours even though it calls for very few ingredients. I wanted to post it because risotto is incredibly difficult to get right and this one isn’t one bit heavy. It also seems to be quite a demanding dish, with lots of attention required during prep and due to the aforementioned typical ingredients, not the healthiest.
This Manhattan Diet version works out at 410 calories, is incredibly filling, easy to make, inexpensive and doesn’t require any butter or cream. It also goes great with a glass of red wine and since you need some for the recipe, you might as well finish it off with the finished dish!
150g Arborio or Bomba rice
1 medium red or white onion, diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
125ml red wine
300ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons grated/powdered Parmesan
Fry the diced onions on medium-high heat in a medium sized shallow pan/pot for five minutes, until soft and a little browned. Make the chicken stock and add to a small saucepan, on a low heat. Stir in the red wine and allow to simmer gently.
In the meantime, add the dry rice to the onions – toast for 1-2 minutes in the pan. Reduce to a medium heat and add the stock/wine mixture. Season with plenty of pepper. Stir every minute or so over the course of 15 minutes, until the rice is slightly al dente and has absorbed the liquid. I left it bubbling away, stirring when I felt it needed it, and started to thicken up.
Remove from the heat and stir in the two tablespoons of parmesan. You’ll probably have to stir really quickly, especially with the powdered stuff, as it won’t end up in the risotto – it will end up stuck to the pan.
All ready to go!
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