Days like today are made for making risotto. Days when you’ve nothing fresh to cook with but an onion rolling solo in the vegetable bowl and a few scraggles of herbs looking lonely in the bottom of the fridge.
And store-cupboards are made for days like these. Look what I found in mine.
Traditionally used as a dip for bread and olive oil, za’atar is a tangy herb mix (oregano, thyme, sumac and sesame seeds). It made a really tasty addition to my mushroom risotto, made with the ends of a couple of packets of dried porcini and shiitake mushrooms rescued from the back of the cupboard. I added the za’atar once the onions had started to soften and sweeten nicely, and before I added the soaked mushrooms followed by the carnaroli rice.
Once the rice was nicely toasted I threw in a generous splash of white wine and cooked that off while I transferred the mushroom soaking water to a saucepan (leaving the gritty bits at the bottom of the original bowl). I topped it up with boiling water and threw in a spoonful of Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder to round it out a little, and then added the resulting mushroom stock ladle by ladle.
I finished it off with a slick of Palestinian olive oil, a pile of grated Parmesan, a handful of chopped tarragon, a load of black pepper and a seasoning of herb-infused salt picked up from a singing butcher in Panzano on my holiers.
Not bad for nothing but an onion. I like days like these.