A recipe for 2 hungry students and a scavenging roommate

The Student Digestive: Food blogger Deborah Ryan goes back to basics to show how simple cooking can be

Pea risotto and a bottle of wine

Risotto was one of the first dishes I had made in a restaurant and could confidently recreate at home, without all of the fancy tools and equipment. Another upside to this recipe is that it includes white wine, preempting your drinks pairing for your meal.

This recipe seems like it has a lot of steps but it’s quite enjoyable to make, especially with some music in the background, and a glass of wine in hand. Although, the wine isn’t a necessity, in hand or recipe.

Saying that, if you find it hard to commit to cooking your own meals, try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Get your favourite music going in the background. I normally try and keep it relaxed, but include genres that allow me to dad dance in the kitchen, which can be vital to any meal preparation. Get some friends over and make it a group effort, get someone to chop the onion for you and take pleasure in their tears.


Recipe serves 2 hungry students, plus maybe a scavenging roommate.

1 white onion
150g arborio rice
3 tbsp white wine
750ml-1L chicken stock (made with half of a good quality stock cube)
100g peas
3 tbsp grated parmesan
1 tbsp butter
Olive oil
Zest of ½ lemon (optional)

Finely dice your onion, you want the pieces of onion to be the same size as the grains of rice. Place a wide saucepan on low heat. Add a short glug of olive oil and add your onion. Sweat this until completely soft, cover it with a lid if you have one. This will take about 15 minutes.

Whilst this is cooking, boil the kettle and place the peas in a bowl. Pour enough hot water to cover the peas and leave them to the side. Prepare your stock at this point and keep hot.

Turn the heat up to medium, add the rice to the onions and let it toast. You will see the colour change from opaque to transparent, don’t let either the rice or onions brown.. Then add in the wine and let it cook off the alcohol, (this is a good thing, dear student). You will know it’s burnt off when the alcohol smell goes, leaving the flavour from the wine.The mixture should look quite dry but not burning

Add two-thirds of the stock and let it absorb, stirring frequently. When the liquid is absorbed,
test a grain of rice, if it is still crunchy add a little more liquid.

When the rice is almost cooked, drain off the peas and add to the rice. Cook until the rice is al dente. Take off the heat and add in the butter and parmesan and let it rest for a minute or two. Get your serving bowls ready now. Stir the lemon zest into the pot and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with grated parmesan on top