The risotto faces will get even the pickiest kid to eat: who can resist a saffron risotto and a beetroot risotto in the shape of a cat and teddy bear? Find this and many more recipes with pictures on the English version of the Giallozafferano App http://itunes.apple.com/app/giallozafferano-recipes/id384387249?mt=8
For the decorations, I’ll be using cheddar cheese because it’s orange – if it’s not available, you can use carrots instead – mozzarella and olives. Cut out a small triangle for the cat’s nose, then a few strips, very thin, the ears and two more triangles for the teddy bear’s bow. Slice a medium mozzarella to create the muzzle of the teddy bear and a small mozzarella for the ears. You can use other types of cheese if you prefer, such as provola cheese, and a round cookie cutter to cut out circles. Olive rings, black or green, for the pupils; otherwise, you can use the bottoms. All right, the decorations are ready to go, move on to the risotto.
I’ll make a mirepoix with finely chopped celery, carrot and onion; heat a little oil in a saucepan and sauté on a very low flame for at least 10-15 minutes, until softened. Toast the rice for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. What is the best rice for risotto? The best are Carnaroli, Roma and Arborio rice, because they stay firm when cooked. You can add a little white wine and let it evaporate before adding the broth, but I omitted it because this recipe is meant for kids. Keep the broth at a low simmer and add one ladleful at a time as the rice absorbs it, this is the secret to a perfect risotto. I’m using vegetable broth, milder in flavour, but you can opt for beef broth, more substantial.
Halfway through the cooking time, divide the rice into two portions, so transfer half of the rice to a separate saucepan; we’ll add the dissolved saffron to one and the pureed beetroot to the other. Lower the heat but keep an eye on the rice, and blend the beetroot with a little vegetable broth. I’m using pre-cooked beetroot of course; it’s available in vacuum packs at supermarkets. Dissolve the saffron in the broth. Stir in the grated cheese, then divide the rice. If your kids like strong flavoured cheese, you can use gruyere or a mix of parmesan and pecorino cheese. Saffron and beetroot. Alternatively, you can colour the risotto orange using pureed pumpkin, red with tomato sauce or green with pesto. Salt to taste and finish cooking.
It’s time to assemble the risotto faces: use a ring mould to shape the risotto, mine is 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. Start with the beetroot risotto: your kid will love it, you’ll see! Then the saffron risotto, a great classic; press it down with the back of a spoon. For the cat, first add the ears, then the eyeballs and the pupils, the nose, the muzzle and use chives for the whiskers. Done! Move on to the teddy bear, well it’s a girl actually! Add the eyes, the pupils, the ears, the muzzle, then finish off the ears and the muzzle too; and finally, a nice bow on top of the head. You can microwave the risotto on high for 1 minute before serving, if desired. Meanwhile let’s see together the ingredients needed for this recipe!
For 4 risotto faces
- ½ carrot
- ½ onion
- 1 stalk of celery
- 3 pints (1,5 lt) of vegetable broth
- ¼ tsp (0,5 g) of saffron powder
- 1,8 oz (50 g) of boiled beetroot
- ½ cup (50 g) of grated cheese
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) of Carnaroli rice
- a little extra virgin olive oil
- 3 black pitted olives
- 3 green pitted olives
- 3 cheddar cheese slices
- a few chives
- 3 small mozzarella balls
- 3 medium mozzarella balls