Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vanilla Risotto - It's a mystery to me

Q: Have you been watching season 4 of MasterChef Australia? Just how many reality television shows are there on at the moment? And is MasterChef considered ‘reality’?
A: Yes. Heaps. Maybe.

I do like MasterChef because for every so-so episode, there’s bound to be a corker soon after. And now that the finals are approaching, we can look forward to even more eliminations, recriminations and big spectacles (hello, Alice?).

Pigs might fly and do somersaults over the moon before you’ll see me on MasterChef, so I was very pleased to receive a MasterChef Mystery Box from American Express. This was so I could create something MasterCheffy at home, but without the pressure, oh the pressure, of the TV version. The Mystery Box challenge is the one where contestants have to prepare a dish using ingredients from a box of sometimes mismatched ingredients.

The mystery box I received certainly had some diverse ingredients. Tabitha cat and I pondered for a bit on what to make.
Somewhat predictably, I’ve made 2 desserts so far using the mystery Box and here’s the first one – a really deliciously creamy Vanilla Risotto. More on the other dessert to come soon.
And yes, I know that a risotto has never won any challenge on MasterChef, but that's just stupid, because taste should always trump superstition, shouldn't it?
For details on the MasterChef/American Express Mystery Box challenge, click here

Vanilla Risotto
serves 4

½ cup Arborio rice
3 cups milk (skim or full-fat is fine)
¼ cup caster sugar
½ split vanilla bean or ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 punnet of strawberries, washed and hulled
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
2 tblsp mascarpone, to serve

1. Place the rice, milk sugar and vanilla into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir well, bring mixture to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove pan from the heat (the risotto will thicken on standing).
2. Meanwhile, slice the strawberries and place in a bowl with the balsamic vinegar.
3. When the risotto is cooked, spoon into serving bowls and top with strawberries and a spoonful of mascarpone.

Leftover risotto can be stored in the fridge and served chilled.

Ingredients, including caster sugar, Arborio rice, milk, vanilla pod and strawberries.
From the Mystery Box, I used the rice, vanilla and balsamic vinegar.

Serve the risotto warm or cold for dessert, with some mascarpone and balsamic strawberries.

See my rather poor excuse for a mascarpone quenelle on the risotto.
*sigh* my MasterChef dreams will never be....


  1. This looks like an absolute treat! I guess having been given a mystery box it really does test your creativity. I love what you've done, and it looks great too ;)

  2. I actually don't own a tv so I can't watch master chef...but I can certainly make this risotto! I love the idea of having it for dessert. Or, um. Breakfast.

  3. Answers: No. Got knows. I guess.

    I often come home from work not knowing what to cook so opening the fridge and pantry is a mystery box in itself. Apart from the strawberries, those ingredients are sitting in the kitchen already. I reckon I'd like this warm or cold. Nice dessert!

  4. That does look so tasty, definitely something I need to try. And I love Joanne's idea of having it for breakfast!

  5. This looks definitely yummy!

  6. I haven't been watching Masterchef..there are too many good series' to be watched and I havent got the time... BUT this is a really fun mystery box and your risotto looks so beautiful and comforting. I also think your quenelle is good! I am rubbish at making quenelles :)

  7. aw gawd, look at Tabitha eying out that mystery package! So cool to see that you made this from the ingredients

  8. Whoa. This looks fabulous.
    I do believe my mouth is watering just by looking at it.

  9. I wouldn't have never thought of making a sweet risotto. But hey...why not!! It looks so delicious with fresh berries.

  10. LOL at the "pigs might fly" comment. I'm on the same boat as well... but your risotto looks awesome!!! Perhaps you should go and try out Masterchef Belle! :)

  11. I love this! I used to eat rice with milk and sugar as a dessert when I was little. This is HEAPS more fancy ;)