2 medium aubergines
170ml olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g risotto rice
120ml white wine
750ml hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
50g Parmesan (or other mature hard cheese), grated
10g basil leaves, shredded
First burn one of the aubergine - either: Preheat the oven grill to high. Place one aubergine on a tray and grill for about an hour, turning occasionally, until the flesh inside is cooked through (don't worry if the aubergine bursts - continue cooking, so you get that distinct smoky flavour). Remove from the oven. Or: place the aubergine over the exposed flame of a gas hob, turning and moving it with tongs so as to char the skin and cook the interior. This will take about 15-20 mins.
cut a slit lengthways in the aubergine and scoop out the soft flesh, avoiding most of the burnt skin. Roughly chop the flesh and put in a bowl.
Cut the second aubergine into 1.5cm dice. Heat 120ml olive oil in a frying pan and in batches until golden and crisp. Transfer to a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave to cool. I actually found more oil was needed, and it might be an idea to toss th cubes in oil before frying to ensure even oil distribution
Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan, then fry the onion slowly. When translucent and cooked, add the crushed garlic and cook for three minutes more. Turn up the heat, add the rice, stir to coat it in the oil and fry for two to three minutes. Add the wine (it should hiss) and cook for two to three minutes more, until all but evaporated. Turn down the heat to medium.
Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice, then stir until it is absorbed, then repeat, stirring all the while, until all the stock has been used up - this will take 10-15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat, add the lemon juice, half the zest, the aubergine pulp, butter and half a teaspoon of salt. Stir, cover and leave for five minutes. Taste and add more salt if you like and some black pepper.
To serve, spoon the risotto into bowls or plates and sprinkle with the diced aubergine, Parmesan, basil and the rest of the lemon zest.
Wow there are a lot of risotto recipes on here. I guess it shows the versatility of the form. This one I cooked for an impromptu supper ith the Neighbours from Across the Road. The back story is that I bought a couple of aubergines in the hope of making this for the Offspring, but what with only the two youngest being here, I could not sell it to them. Don't like Aubergine.....
I have made this before, many moons ago and obviously liked it because it stuck in my memory. It is an Otto of course, from Plenty and was I think one of the dishes that converted me to Aubergine. The burning of the vegetable to impart a smokiness to the flesh totally transforms it from slimy snot-ball to silky smokiness. Its a game changer for me. It is paired with fried aubergine cubes as well, which add a little texture to the dish. The lemon lifts it and makes it all together light and satisfying. I think it went down well - I made this quantity which is supposed to be for four, but three of us finished it, so it must be OK....