3-4 chopped shallots or 2 chopped leeks with chopped celery
Finest Quality Artisan Olive Oil
350g Arborio Rice/Quinoa
One Pint of Vegetarian/Vegan/Chicken stock (AJ recommends Marigold Organic Vegetable powder available from www.naturalcollection.com)
1 tbsp dried wild mushrooms (available from your local farmers market, Wholefoods and selected supermarkets)
225g sliced organic chestnut mushrooms (available from your local farmers market, Wholefoods and selected supermarkets)
Freshly grated Parmesan to serve (find the best at Borough Market or your local farmers market)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Handful of wild rocket
Start by coating the bottom of a large, heavy bottom sauté pan with a splash of high quality, artisan olive oil. Then sauté 4 chopped shallots gently in a large heavy bottom pan until they turn transparent in colour. This should take around 5 minutes but keep your eye on them at all times, as it is imperative that they don’t burn!
If you prefer, substitute the shallots for 2 chopped leeks and one piece of chopped celery.
For a standard risotto, add Arborio rice to the sauté mixture and stir.
However, for a healthier version, quinoa is a delicious, protein rich alternative.
This gentle grain is very delicate so be sure to cook on a very gentle heat, for five minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté the pre-soaked wild mushrooms in a separate pan in artisan olive oil to soften for 2 to 3 minutes. This brings out their deliciously nutty flavour and tenderises.
To your rice/quinoa add vegetarian, vegan or chicken stock – depending on your dietary requirements – ladle by ladle. Alison Jane recommends Marigold Organic Vegetable Powder, a real store cupboard food hero, utterly delicious in a wide array of dishes.
To the gently simmering mixture add your sautéed mushrooms and watch, nurture and gently stir for 10-12 minutes if using quinoa and 20-25 if using Arborio rice.
The delicate nature of quinoa means it cooks quickly and is therefore great when you want a speedy, nutritious and delicious meal.
Finally, turn off the heat and add the finest quality grated Parmesan – it should be a wonderfully crumbly, sunshine coloured hunk of golden goodness with a nutty, sweet flavour and irregular shape.
Grate the Parmesan straight into the pan and cover with a clean tea towel for 2-3 minutes before serving.
Add freshly chopped parsley or a little mound of wild rocket on each plate to garnish.