Braised little gem risotto

Simon Rimmer shows how you can do more with little gem lettuce than toss it in a salad
By Simon Rimmer
Braised little gem risotto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the braised lettuce

  • 6 heads little gem lettuce
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • pinch sugar
  • 200 ml vegetable stock
  • knob butter

For the risotto

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g risotto rice
  • 1 litres warm vegetable stock
  • 100 ml white wine
  • knob butter, to taste
  • 100 g pecorino cheese, finely grated
  • 125 g frozen peas

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/180C fan/gas 6.

2. For the braised lettuce: arrange the little gem lettuce in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. Scatter the shallots and garlic over and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar.

3. Pour in enough of the vegetable stock to cover 1/3 up the lettuces, then add a knob of butter. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until tender.

4. For the risotto: heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan over a low heat and fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.

5. Meanwhile, bring the vegetable stock to a very gentle simmer over a low heat.

6. Add the rice to the pan with the onions and garlic and stir well until all the grains are coated in the oil. Add the wine, turn up the heat and keep stirring until most of the wine has been absorbed.

7. Reduce the heat again and add 1-2 ladles of the hot vegetable stock at a time, stirring after each additions until the stock has been absorbed. Repeat until the rice is creamy but still has a bit of bite, about 40 minutes. You may not need all of the stock.

8. Add the peas and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the knob of butter and the pecorino until melted. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

9. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and top with the braised little gem lettuce.

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