Arno Maasdorp

How lovely to catch up with the very talented Gianluca Tozzi, head chef at the award wining La Bella Vista just before service to ask for some courgette inspiration. As we all know, a bumper crop of courgettes is guaranteed in these parts of the world. This luxurious bowl of golden comfort will bring sunshine to any table!

Saffron and Yellow Courgette Risotto
Serves 2

Ingredients
150g carnaroli rice
1 shallot
1 yellow courgette
1 red chilli
Pinch of saffron
125ml good white wine
70g butter
70g gorgonzola
(you can use parmesan or pecorino if you prefer)
1.5l vegetable stock
1 bunch of dill

Ingredients for vegetable stock:
1 onion
1 carrot
2 sticks of celery
a few bay leaves

1. A good stock is fundamental, trust me your efforts will be rewarded by bags of flavour.
2. Start with 2 litres of cold water and pop in all your vegetables. Don’t worry about chopping them into small pieces, just halves is fine. Remember, you can use all kinds of vegetables for your stock and it will provide a different flavour. Boil the water for at least an hour on a low heat.
3. Finely chop the shallot and chilli. Cook in a pan on low heat with 50g of butter and a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil.
4. Finely dice the yellow courgette and place in the same pan with the shallots and chilli. Season with salt and black pepper.
5. Stir the pan until the courgettes are slightly softer. Add a bit of stock if it is too dry.
6. When the courgettes softens, add the white wine, on a medium heat, allow all the wine to evaporate.
7. Take another pan and toast the rice on a medium heat. Do not use any butter or oil while toasting your rice. Do this for a couple of minutes and then start adding your stock, one ladle at a time. It is important to keep your stock hot. Half cook the rice and make sure you keep stirring it.
8. Transfer your rice into the sauce and finish cooking the rice. Adding a small amount of stock at a time and constantly stir.
9. The end of risotto cooking is called mantecatura, which is blending the rice with a sauce using a fat, usually butter, cheese or oil.
10. At this point, add your gorgonzola (or your alternative if you prefer), a pinch of saffron and the remaining 20g of butter. Stir vigorously.
11. Finish with finely chopped dill and your risotto is ready to serve.

This dish is perfect to enjoy in this beautiful weather we’ve been having, with a chilled white Pecorino wine or with bubbles.

FIVE QUESTIONS!

Favourite ingredient: Lemons
Style: Modern European
Favourite white wine: White Rioja
Holiday: Ongoing search for exciting new destinations
What do you do on your day off? Day trips discovering what is on offer closer to home

La Bella Vista, 8 Grand Parade St Leonards on Sea www.labellavista.co.uk


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