Maybe the weather could have been slightly better. Outside of that, our rather spontaneous trip to meet dear friends and do some Christmas shopping in NYC couldn’t have been any better. It came down to one great meal after another, we discovered fancy hidden bars, left with a bag more than we initially came to the city and brought back a notebook bursting of ideas and inspiration. ‘Gotta love NY. How often can I repeat that?
Munich weather isn’t any better these days – fog, rain, snow or the other way around – back home we soon started craving some serious comfort food. A big bowl of steaming hot pasta or risotto sounded like the perfect choice and both dishes give you a distinct invitation to experiment with what your fridge and pantry have to offer. With a bit of intuition, common sense and cooking passion, there’s not much that can go wrong. Aside from neglecting to taking notes along the way which could make an incidentally found true killer recipe a one hit wonder – something that happens quite often to lazy people like me. Thankfully not this time! The risotto with roasted bell peppers had such a rich flavor and velvety texture, that I not only wrote down the recipe immediately after the bowls were emptied, I prepared it for friends just a couple of days later, too.
But the best thing about this risotto was the shortcut I learned in the process: Haven’t we all cursed the roasted/grilled bell peppers during the tedious procedure of peeling their charred skin? As tasty as they are roasted, the peeling really su—! Ok, putting them into a ziploc bag for half an hour usually helps, but still. Here is what baffled me: Thanks to an invitation I had to skip my risotto plans and my readily roasted peppers came to enjoy an extra night on my fridge’s shelf. Which made the peeling dead easy, it worked like a breeze and the skin came off just like that, in one go! So if you have a little time on your hands and can plan ahead, prepare them a day in advance, it will save you time in the end…
And before I forget: Happy holidays to all of you, enjoy some downtime with your family and friends and especially the one or other delicious feast!
Prepare the bell peppers – preferably a day ahead: Preheat the oven to maximum heat (230°C or 450°F are fine). Wash bell peppers and cut around stem to pull it out with the seeds (discard). Shake out remaining seeds, then cut each bell pepper lengthwise into 4 or five pieces, before cutting off the inner ribs (discard). Place the bell pepper pieces on a parchment paper lined baking tray with skin showing up, then roast in the oven on the second top level. If your oven offers an additional grill function, this is the perfect chance to use it! Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until evenly blistered and charred. Take out and fill into a ziploc bag while still hot. Squeeze out residual air, then seal and chill the grilled bell peppers in the fridge over night. Just before starting with your risotto, remove from bag, discard their charred skins and cut the bell peppers into thin strips.
Prepare the chorizo: Peel off the skin off the sausage (discard) then cut into small cubes. Heat a smaller heavy pan over medium heat, add the chorizo and the olive oil and roast slowly, stirring every now and then.
Prepare the risotto: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan, add the finely chopped shallot as well as the dried pepper flakes or chopped fresh chile and sauté shortly until soft and translucent, but don’t brown them. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with the butter, then add the tomato puree.
Now add a cup of the warm broth and stir gently until almost all of the broth is absorbed. Add a little broth at a time, continuously stirring and having an eye on the pot to not let the rice stick to the bottom. Do so for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is almost done. Finally add the roasted bell pepper stripes, some thyme leaves and cook for two or three minutes, until the mixture is creamy and the bell pepper stripes have almost melted into the risotto, note that the tender rice grains should still retain a tiny little bite. Remove from heat, add the hot oil from the chorizo pan (but not the chorizo itself) and fold in the grated parmesan, then season to taste (if more salt is really necessary).
Serve with a generous dollop of Crème fraîche, sour cream or marcarpone (if desired) and freshly ground black pepper, then top off with the roasted chorizo cubes and enjoy!
Risotto with roasted bell peppers and chorizo
Recipe source: own creation
Prep time: ~30min. plus chiling, cooking: ~25min.
Ingredients (serves 2 as a main, 4 as an appetizer):
3 bell peppers (red, orange and yellow)
parchment paper and a ziploc bag
2-3 tbsp butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
dried pepper flakes or freshly chopped chile to taste
200g risotto rice (e.g. Carnaroli)
2 tbsp tomato puree
~1l vegetable or chicken stock
~50g Chorizo, cut into small cubes
2-3 tbsp olive oil
fresh thyme leaves
a handful Parmesan, freshly grated
sea salt, if necessary
optional: top off with a generous dollop of either Crème fraîche, sour cream or marcarpone and some freshly ground black pepper