Isolation cooking


If you haven’t already turned to some isolation cooking, try your hand at one of these recipes to broaden your repertoire, brought to you by food writer Libby Kimber.

Sweet pea risotto

Image and text from Venetian Republic by Nino Zoccali. Food photography by Alan Benson. Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99.

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 30 mins

Serves 4

  • 160g smoked pancetta
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 white onions, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 350g (1 2/3 cups) Vialone Nano (or any risotto rice)
  • 250ml (1 cup) Istrian Malvasia white wine (or any quality dry white wine)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
  • 300g sweet peas, half left whole, half puréed to a smooth paste
  • 30g (1/2 cup) chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus extra to serve
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Finely dice half the pancetta and cut the remainder into thin ribbons. Place the ribbon slices on a baking tray and cook in the oven until crisp.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and diced pancetta and cook over low heat until the onion is translucent.

Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and cook for 2 minutes or until the wine has evaporated.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in another pan, then reduce the heat and keep at a simmer.

Slowly add the hot stock to the rice, one ladle at a time, stirring continuously as the rice absorbs the stock. Cook for about 12 minutes, then stir in the peas, pea purée and parsley.

Cook for a further 3 minutes, then add the butter and Parmigiano Reggiano and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and leave for 3 minutes before serving, garnished with crisp pancetta slices, a little extra Parmigiano Reggiano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Beef Tataki

Image and text from Japanese Food Made Easy by Aya Nishimura, photography by Lisa Linder. Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99.

Prep: 20 mins 
Cook: 5 mins

Serves 4 

  • 400g good-quality beef fillet tail
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp mirin
  • 2 Tbsp sake
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) clementine juice or orange juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed with the back of a knife but left whole
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced and kept in cold water
  • 2 cups (60g) watercress, washed
  • 200g daikon radish, finely grated (optional)

Take the beef out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. Season with sea salt and pepper.

To make the sauce, gently heat the mirin and sake in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the soy sauce, vinegar, clementine juice and crushed garlic.

Heat a frying pan over medium–high heat. Sear the beef for about 1–2 minutes on all sides. Remove from the heat and leave the beef to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Drain the onion and combine with the watercress on a serving plate. Cut the beef into 5mm thick slices and add to the salad. Serve with the sauce drizzled over the top. Drain any excess liquid from the grated daikon, and add it to the salad just before serving.

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