2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
150 g (5 oz) Arborio (risotto) rice
500 ml hot vegetable stock
85 g (3 oz) green beans, cut into 2 cm (1”) lengths)
125 g (4 oz) frozen peas
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
Handful of baby spinach leaves
Freshly ground black pepper.
60 g (2 oz) cashew nuts, lightly toasted
1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan and cook the onion with the red pepper, bay leaves and garlic over a moderate heat, stirring frequently.
2. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 –2 minutes, stirring constantly until the grains are coated with oil and translucent.
3. Add half the hot vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring and continue to simmer until the rice is almost tender. Add the green beans, peas and tomatoes and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes. As a guide, the total cooking time should be around 25 minutes. Perfect risotto should be thick and creamy but not solid, and the rice should be soft but still have a little bite.
4. Add the spinach leaves to the hot risotto. Stir until the leaves have wilted. Remove the pan from the heat.
5. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper then scatter over the cashew nuts. Serve on warmed plates.