Is there a baby rice dish more suitable for budding foodies than a rich and creamy risotto? Perhaps not. Although, making a good risotto is more than just boiling until the water is absorbed. Add too much water, and you have a soft, squidgy mess; add too little water, and the rice granules are hard and lacking flavour. A perfect risotto requires just the right amount of liquid combined with the right amount of attention. Risotto is not a dish that cooks itself but rather requires regular stirring to ensure the rice cooks evenly and does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Risotto is derived from the Italian word riso, meaning rice, and is a northern Italian dish cooked with broth until it becomes creamy. Rice has been grown in southern Italy since the 14th century, and it eventually reached Milan in the north, where the first recorded risotto dish dates from approximately 1809. There are several varieties of rice used for making risotto, but all are high-starch and short-grain white rice varieties, better for absorbing liquids and releasing starch to achieve the creamy consistency. Typically prepared as a savoury meal, you can put just about anything you want into a risotto. The baby rice recipe below is a simple one that combines vibrant green peas with the creamy rice to produce a delicious and nutritious meal for your little one.
25g unsalted butter
60g onion, finely chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
250g arborio rice
250g frozen peas
60g Parmesan, grated