Clara’s Risotto – toasted cashews & rucola

(serves 4 | 40 minutes | easy)

In late 2018 a dear friend of mine passed away, and although she was one of the few people in the world suffering from severe ‘gastroparesis’ and therefore could not eat solid food, she found the courage and passion to cook and bake for other people. She was so talented that one of her creations, the risotto below, is now being served in a restaurant in her home town under her name. I am so proud of everything she was able to accomplish and decided to share her recipe as a way to remember her and celebrate her life. 

400g carnaroli rice – 2 cups cashews – butter – 1 onion – 200g fresh rocket salad leaves – grated parmigiano – 2L vegetable stock (2L water + 2 stock cubes) – salt and pepper

  1. Slice the onion into fine dices and place in a deep pot with a knob of butter. Turn the gas onto medium high and let the onions brown slowly. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. 
  2. Once the onions have browned, pour the rice into the pan and let it toast for a few minutes, until almost translucent, stirring often. 
  3. Once the rice is toasted, pour in two ladles of broth and stir, let the liquid bubble and once it has almost completely evaporated, add two more ladles of broth. Repeat this action, stirring often, until the rice is al dente – roughly 15 to 20 minutes. 
  4. In the meantime, roughly chop the cashews and place them in a pan on high heat to toast them. 
  5. Once the rice is of your desired consistency, turn off the flame and add two more knobs of butter, two tablespoons of grated parmigiano and a sprinkle of black pepper and mix vigorously. You want to achieve a creamy consistency, so add more butter or parmigiano (or both) to do so. Season with salt to taste (I usually don’t add any as stock is already salty enough). 
  6. Mix in the cashews, leaving a few to the side to decorate with. 
  7. Place the risotto into individual dishes and top with some fresh rocket salad, the remaining cashews and a sprinkle of pepper.