Thursday 14 November 2019

Forkful's speedy suppers

Pea risotto
Pea risotto
Roasted broccoli pasta

Aoife McElwain

A risotto may not immediately seem like a speedy supper; the cook must spend time with the risotto as it bubbles over the stove, stirring repeatedly until the Arborio rice is plump and oozing with stock and white wine.

The cook needs to stop and pay attention to it, rather than multi-tasking while the supper cooks, and I find this process very relaxing. If you would prefer a super speedy supper, my roasted broccoli with bacon and crème fraîche can be whipped up in a quarter of an hour, and the process of roasting the florets will renew your interest in broccoli.

Simple pea risotto

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 25-30 mins

Serves 2


25g butter

1 small onion, finely diced

2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely diced

150g Arborio rice

100ml white wine

800ml hot vegetable stock

150g frozen peas

25g Parmesan, grated, plus more to serve


1. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Fry the onion and bacon for 3 minutes before adding the garlic clove. Fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and mix well. Pour in the white wine and allow to bubble away until the wine has been completely absorbed by the rice, stirring constantly.

2. Pour the hot vegetable stock into a saucepan and bring to simmer on the hob. Add one ladleful of the stock to the risotto and stir until it has been absorbed by the rice, stirring constantly. Repeat until the stock is finished or the rice has become oozy and plump. This process should take about 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Pour the frozen peas into a bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Drain and stir through the risotto. Add the Parmesan cheese to the risotto and stir well. Finally, serve the risotto with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan and a crack of black pepper.

Roasted Broccoli Pasta

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 15-20 mins

Serves 2


1 head of broccoli

2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

Zest of half a lemon

Olive oil

200g of penne pasta

Half a small onion, finely diced

1 clove of garlic, finely diced

2 tablespoons of crème fraîche



Handful of grated Parmesan cheese


1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/ gas mark 6. Slice the florets from the head of broccoli and place in a roasting tray. Add the bacon slices, whole, into the roasting tray. Grate the zest of half a lemon over the broccoli and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the broccoli and bacon. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, until the bacon is cooked and the broccoli has started to blacken at its edges. Remove from the oven and chop the bacon into small pieces.

2. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. When boiling, add the pasta and cook to the packet's instructions.

3. When the pasta is nearly done and the broccoli is nearly roasted, heat a little drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the onion for 3 minutes. Next, add the garlic to the pan and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer before removing from the heat.

4. Drain the pasta and return to the saucepan. Add the crème fraîche sauce, the broccoli and bacon, and mix well. Serve with a crack of pepper and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Good Stock: It's easy to make your own stock to store in your fridge or freezer. All it requires is a little bit of pre-planning. As a back-up, stock your cupboards with good quality

Stock such as Kallo and Dr Coy's organic stock cubes.

Photos: Mark Duggan 

Irish Independent

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