* This Chorizo Risotto recipe is a paid blog post in partnership with Ciao Gusto. *
Our chorizo risotto with chestnuts and Brussel sprouts is quick and easy to make. You can even substitute a couple of the ingredients to make it vegetarian.
When the lovely people at Ciao Gusto asked me whether I wanted to create a festive recipe in time for Christmas, it sparked the creative process and lots of ideas kept coming in.
I meal plan and book one Ocado food delivery once a month or every other month. Every single food order I make includes products from Ciao Gusto. My favourite brands from the Italian Deli are Barilla, Riso Gallo, Cirio, Parmareggio, Negroni, Filippo Berio and Lavazza. I’ve discovered a few more with this collaboration and will definitely buy San Benedetto lemonade again as well as Zonin wine. You can check the range of products from Ciao Gusto here.
When I ordered ingredients from the Italian Deli on Ocado, my cooker was broken so all I had was a hot plate to cook on. The decision was a simple one to make: we’d go with my boy’s favourite meal to cook: risotto. That meant he’d be in charge and I’d be his sous-chef. Perfect!
The beauty about risotto is it’s quick and easy to make, and once you have the method under your belt, you can make any type of risotto you want using leftovers or what’s in the fridge.
I’d normally serve this risotto with a crisp white wine, rosé or a light red wine, but we had our risotto for lunch when made it so we went with San Benedetto lemonade instead.
The better the quality of the ingredients, the better the risotto.
The risotto recipe e’re sharing today uses ten ingredients: Filippo Berrio organic olive oil, chorizo, red onion, Gallo arborio rice, organic white wine vinegar, fresh garlic, chicken stock, organic Parmesan cheese, Brussel sprouts and chestnuts.
I always buy my pre-cooked chestnuts from Merchant Gourmet. They tend to be cheapest in Morrisons or ASDA (about £1.50 for 180g), but you can also find them in M&S or on Amazon.
Alternatively, you can buy fresh chestnuts and roast them in the oven for 20 minutes after cutting a deep cross with a knife on each of them. Chestnuts are so addictive when they’re freshly baked!
What ingredients can you substitute in the chorizo risotto?
If you’re vegetarian, you could swap the chorizo with peas. Instead of chicken stock, use vegetable stock.
For a vegan option, I’d recommend using Sheese hard Italian style grated cheese.
If you’ve run out of chorizo, lardons will work just as well. You can fry some bacon and then cut it into small slices using kitchen scissors. You could also use pan-fried chicken breast instead of chorizo.
If you’re a purist, use one tablespoon unsalted butter (instead of the fat released from the chorizo) and one tablespoon olive oil to start your risotto.
Our plan was to use Kalettes rather than Brussel Sprouts in this chorizo risotto, but I haven’t been able to find any so far this winter. Check my blog post full of tips to cook Kalettes here. You could also replace the Brussel sprouts with asparagus, tenderstem broccoli or French beans.
If you’d rather not have chestnuts, just swap them for mushrooms.
Instead of vinegar, you can use white wine or even Chinese rice wine.
How to make the best risotto.
Beautifully cooked risotto is delicious, but if you’re not following a few simple rules, it can easily be a disaster too. The key is to be by the stove as you are cooking the risotto, with no distractions.
If I had to pin down the two main elements of a good risotto, I’d say you know you’ve got it right if it’s creamy and al dente (firm to the bite). Rice that’s crunchy or mushy is either undercooked or overcooked. A dry or stodgy risotto is likely to prove a struggle to finish.
Here are some tips to make sure your risotto is perfect every single time:
Tips for when you’re buying the ingredients and getting ready to cook:
- First and foremost, use high quality ingredients. Any vegetables that are at the end of their life and starting to look wilted are fine for soup, not for risotto. Fresh and high-quality are paramount for a palatable risotto.
- Be organised: since you’ve got to watch your risotto like a hawk as it cooks, make sure you’ve chopped all veg, measured all ingredients, grated your cheese (we’d normally use a Microplane grater for Parmesan but couldn’t find it) and heated up your stock in advance.
- Go with high-quality rice, always. I only ever buy Gallo Arborio rice but there are other rice varieties you could use: Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are also perfect for a creamy risotto.
- Use your largest pan when cooking risotto. I either use my 28cm Le Creuset casserole dish or my Kitchen Aid 30 cm pan, even when making risotto for two like my big boy did today.
- Unlike many varieties of rice, you’re not meant to rinse risotto rice. If you rinse it, you’ll get rid of the starch that makes risotto so creamy and delicious.
Tips for when you’re cooking the risotto:
- Chop your onions really finely.
- We normally crush or grate garlic but we always slice it when making risotto.
- Although Crevette only used olive oil in this risotto recipe because of the fat released when frying the chorizo, we normally start our risottos with one tablespoon of unsalted butter and one tablespoon of butter.
- Drizzle your olive oil and /or plop in your butter on the cold pan before turning on the heat.
- Do not brown your onions. You want them to get translucent at the start of the cooking process and when the risotto is completely cooked, they should have completely dissolved in the sauce.
- Once the onions are ready, drop all the rice in the pan and mix thoroughly. You want to give each grain of rice the time to get coated in the fat and to get slightly toasted. It won’t take more than a couple of minutes.
- Add the vinegar or white wine then, just before starting the cooking process with the stock.
- Your stock must be hot but not boiling.
- Do not add in all the stock at once. That’s the trick to a good risotto: you cook it slowly by adding one ladle of the liquid at a time. Stir as the rice absorbs the liquid and when all absorbed, add in another ladle.
- It will take 20 minutes between the first ladle of stock is added to the finished risotto. Start your timer when you add the first ladle of warm liquid to keep track of time.
- Add half the Parmareggio Reggiano (Parmesan) at the end of the cooking process, after turning off the heat. Some like to add a knob of cold unsalted butter too.
- Add the vegetables / extra ingredients at the end of the cooking process, after adding the Parmareggio Reggiano (Parmesan).
With no further ado, here is the recipe for our easy chorizo risotto with chestnuts and Brussel sprouts:
Easy Chorizo Risotto with Chestnuts and Brussel Sprouts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 120 g diced chorizo
- A dozen Brussel sprouts
- 1 red onion
- 160 g arborio rice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 10 cooked whole chestnut quartered
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 50 g Parmareggio Reggiano Parmesan, grated
- Parsley to garnish (optional)
- Drizzle half the olive oil on a cold, wide-based pan. Place over a high heat. Once hot, add the chorizo and cook until crispy. This should take about 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, fill your kettle with filtered water and boil. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and finely slice the garlic. Steam the Brussel sprouts for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Once the chorizo is ready, carefully remove it from the pan (leave as much of the oil in as you can) and place on a plate covered in kitchen paper, to blot excess fat.
- Return the pan to a medium heat and add the rest of the oil. Once the pan is hot, add the diced onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened and translucent (this should take 3 to 4 minutes).
- As the onion is cooking, dissolve the stock cube in 720ml boiling water.
- Once the onion is translucent, add the arborio rice and the sliced garlic. Toast for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously to coat the rice with the fat.
- Add in the white wine vinegar and stir to combine.
- Add a ladle of the stock to the pan and put a timer on for 20 minutes. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until all the liquid has absorbed. Repeat until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked yet firm to the bite.
- Add in half the cheese and stir to combine. Add half the chorizo, the halved Brussel sprouts and the quartered chestnuts. Serve straight away. Garnish with the remaining cheese, chorizo and some parsley.
Disclosure: This blog post is part of a paid partnership with Ciao Gusto. You can purchase all Ciao Gusto products from Ocado. All copy and photos are my own.