Hi! We are Eleanor and Jess, otherwise known as MelbournefoodGeek and Jessthebaker in the forums. We spent a whole afternoon on a scorching summers day, experimenting with this months challenge and my stocked freezer is very thankful for it. This month we bring a favourite comfort food. Not only is it naturally gluten free but it is versatile enough to suit everyones taste buds. As a shift worker, I eat out of the freezer a lot and as students, both Jess and I like to eat cheap, quick and simple. The only thing better then this is mashed potato with loads of butter and a little goats cheese…… I was never allowed this growing up because mum detested it for its glugginess. I claim it was just because she never had the good stuff. We bring you risotto!

To download the recipe in .pdf format, click HERE!

Recipe Source: We normally just wing it but for this a recipe was actually tracked down and tested! The pumpkin comes from the MasterChef Australia The Cookbook Volume , 1whilst the stock and preserved lemon risotto come from a book called Moorish by Greg Malouf. Once you’ve gotten the basic recipe down, you can add what ever you want.

Blog-checking lines: The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

Posting Date: March 14, 2010

Note: Don’t let it get gluggy!! If you leave it a little runny, it will thicken up as it cools down. There will also be tasty sauce to lick from your bowl. Extra liquid also helps when you’re reheating it. We found the preserved lemon one very strong on flavour. To counteract it we added some goats cheese which worked a treat. If you want to make your own variations then add what you want when the 3rd lot of stock is added. We made a chicken and pesto by adding cooked chicken (you can use the leftovers from the stock), mushroom, fresh basil and semi sundried tomatoes. I do have photos lurking around but the disk went missing…. Will add them when I find it.
According to Jamie Oliver ‘”You want it to be smooth, creamy and oozy, not thick and stodgy.”

Preparation time:
Stock: 20 minutes prep time, 3 hours cooking.
Pumpkin Risotto: 10 minutes prep time, 20-30 minutes cooking. ,
Lemon Risotto: 10 minutes prep time, 20-30 minutes cooking.

Equipment required:
• 5 Litre stock pot, or other large pan
• knife
• chopping board
• tablespoon
• teaspoon
• sieve
• ladle
• hand blender (optional)
• wooden spoon or other stirring implement
• grater
• saucepans
• measuring cups
• scales

Chicken Stock

1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek – white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn’t matter.)
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice


  1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
  2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
  3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
  4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
  5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
  6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
  7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don’t need for later use.

Risotto Base

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L


  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don’t actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
  7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.

Pumpkin Risotto (OPTIONAL recipe)

pumpkin, grated 7oz 200g Don’t use butternut, the taste will be too watery
thyme, chopped 1 Tbsp
unsalted butter 3.5 oz 100g chilled and cut into small cubes
parmesan cheese, grated 2 oz 60g


  1. Melt half the butter in a saucepan. Add pumpkin and cook until tender. Set aside (optional – blend for a smoother texture)
  2. Make the base up until the end of step 8.
  3. Stir through the pumpkin mixture and thyme
  4. Add the final 100ml of stock and hte remaining butter and stir until both are completely absorbed. Stir through the parmesan, stick the lid on and let it sit for a few minutes.

Preserved Lemon Risotto (OPTIONAL recipe)

Serves 4 as a starter or light lunch

1 preserved lemon, peel only, finely diced. (The lemons from last months challenge should be perfect by now, otherwise you can buy them. Regular lemon zest will work as well.)
celery leaves, from the heart, finely chopped 1 Tbsp
unsalted butter 3.5 oz 100g chilled and cut into small cubes
parmesan cheese, grated 2 oz 60g


  1. Make the base until the end of step 8.
  2. Stir through the preserved lemon
  3. Add the final 100ml of stock and butter and stir until both are completely absorbed. Stir through the parmesan, stick the lid on and let it sit for a few minutes.

This one has a very strong taste, it is best served as a base with something else. We stirred through goats cheese. It was delicious.



For Stock recipes other than Chicken:

For preserved lemon recipes:…

Videos of risotto-making:

Melbournefood Geek