Food&Drink Editor Max Kelly shares his tasty risotto recipe that is well worth the preparation time

Food&Drink Editor. Third year Chemical Engineering student
Images by Max Kelly

At times like these, a carefully prepared evening meal can truly be the highlight of an otherwise uneventful day at home. It is therefore a great idea to use this opportunity to make certain foods which would otherwise feel like a daunting task after a long and busy day, with risotto at the top of this proverbial list. This recipe is inspired by the techniques of the Costardi Brothers, who are famous for furthering modern risotto gastronomy.

Taking the time to prepare the garlic oil cubes makes a huge difference to the texture of the final product, even if it does involve starting this recipe 24 hours before it is served. 


Ingredients (Serves 4) 

4 garlic cloves

1 courgette

150ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for roasting

400g carnaroli/arborio risotto Rice 

1L vegetable Stock

15g butter

1 tbsp chilli powder

parmesan cheese, to serve



Start by making the garlic oil cubes. First, crush the peeled garlic cloves with the side of a large knife until fully split. Then, heat the olive oil in a saucepan until warmed but not hot and bubbling, and then add the garlic cloves. Stir gently and remove from heat and cover, leaving to infuse overnight or around 12 hours. After infusing, use a hand blender to combine garlic and olive oil and pour into an ice cube tray (preferably silicone) and freeze for at least a couple of hours. 

Once ready to cook the risotto, melt the butter in a large frying pan or saucepan. Add the risotto rice, coating in butter and toasting the grains. Whilst stirring constantly, slowly add the vegetable stock, waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more stock. All in all, this process will take around 30-40 minutes. 

Whilst the risotto is cooking, preheat the oven to around 170 degrees. Then, cut the courgette into small cubes (around ½ centimetre cubes) and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Next, spread out the cubes onto a single layer in a roasting tray and roast until the courgette takes on colour, around 10-15 minutes. 

Once the risotto is cooked and the grains are al dente, add the roasted courgette and season then stir to combine. Then, remove from heat and quickly stir in 3-4 cubes of the frozen garlic oil until fully combined. Divide between 4 bowls and top with a sprinkling of chilli powder and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

More recipes to try in lockdown:

Red Onion, Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia 

Banana Bread