Risotto makes a delicious, warming dinner for us adults but due to the high salt levels in stock and Parmesan cheese, not to mention the wine, make it unsuitable for babies. However it doesn't mean it has to be off the menu, this very low salt version is baby friendly and very adaptable to whatever you have in your fridge/freezer/cupboards. When I'm making risotto for Isabella I tend to make a big batch of the base risotto (no additional ingredients added), then split it into three bowls and add any other ingredients. This way helps to save time and also means you can stock up the freezer with baby friendly meals for nights there's just no time to cook.
Base Risotto Recipe
What you'll need:
250g Arborio Rice
1.25l Very Low or No Salt Vegetable Stock
1 Onion, finely chopped
50g Low salt Cheddar Cheese, grated or finely cubed
1 tbsp Olive oil
What to do:
1) Add the oil and onions into a large saucepan on a medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
2) Stir in the arborio rice and cook for a further 2 minutes - you should be able to hear the rice starting to crack and pop.
3) Slowly add the stock, a little at a time. This process usually takes around 30 minutes, as you add the stock the rice will begin to swell and thicken. The rice shouldn't have any 'bite' to it once it's cooked.
4) Stir in the cheddar cheese.
On to the three variations I like to do, however you can add whatever your little one likes to the base risotto mix. I usually split the above base risotto mixture into three bowls and then add the below ingredients into each bowl.
Pea and Mint Risotto - 2 handfuls of frozen peas boiled for 4 minutes (to save time you can microwave the peas with a splash of water for 3 minutes) and mashed with a fork. Stir the mashed peas into the base risotto and add 2 leaves of very finely chopped fresh mint.
Pumpkin and Sage Risotto - Very seasonal for this time of year. Finely chop (about 5mmx5mm cubes) 250g pumpkin and put into a microwave safe bowl. Add a splash of water, cover with clingfilm and microwave for 9 minutes. (You could also steam or boil the pumpkin.) Mash with a fork and stir into the base risotto mix with 1/2 tsp very finely chopped fresh sage.
Mushroom and Thyme Risotto - Finely chop 2 large field mushrooms and fry in a small knob of butter until cooked. Add 1/2 tsp very finely chopped fresh thyme to the mushrooms and cook for a further minute. Stir into the base risotto mix.
These all make really good meals for babies who are just starting to introduce texture into their food. Isabella loves risotto, especially the mushroom and thyme one!
What's your favourite risotto?
Feel free to leave a comment :)