The Empress's Jewel Case is a combination of earthy, acidic, sweet and creamy flavours that perfectly complement each other. Rice/risotto can sometimes become a bit boring, so for me it is important to experiment and try out new flavours by pairing different ingredients together. It is a dish full of nutrients and a great way to treat your body to 5 a day in one go.
-white cooking wine
-fresh (strawberry) mint
-watercress (for garnishing)
Before I get into the making of this dish I would like to admit that I overcooked my risotto this time. It is more to my liking if there is a little bite to it, but I wanted to point out that it is okay to make mistakes. I am not a professional chef but I surely love what I do and I would definitely encourage you to give it another go or try something else when you are not happy with the outcome of your meal. Like in everything else in life we are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. Having said all of that, I still really enjoyed this dish.
First and foremost, boil some water and in a jug mix in your vegetable stock until completely dissolved. Add the rice to your pan and little by little start adding your liquified stock. Keep stirring and once the liquid is absorbed and the rice appears almost dry add a little more of the stock. Keep repeating this for 20-30mins or until the grains are firm to the bite.
The question of when to add your vegetable has a simple answer and I would say it is completely up to you and depends how crunchy or soft you want them to be. I usually add first, the chopped pieces of broccoli (because it takes more time to cook than the rest), then in go the mange-touts, baby corn and asparagus. After I have added all the veg I then pour in some white cooking wine and lemon juice. I prefer to do this after I've cooked the vegetables for a couple of minutes so that they too can absorb the two liquids. A good dish is always perfected with the seasoning so don't skip this step. Add some salt, pepper, dried basil and (strawberry) mint if it's to your liking.
Once your risotto and vegetables are cooked as you want them, turn the stove off and add some grated grana padano or parmesan. Leave the strawberries until the very end (just before you serve) as you don't really want them to cook, the heat from the risotto alone will be enough for them to blend in with the rest of the vegetables. When you are ready to serve, add a few touches by sprinkling some lemon zest, watercress for decor and a few grana padano shavings.