Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Mum vs. Good Running

There seems to be a conspiracy stopping me from doing my long run this weekend and I am starting to feel a little frustrated. Sunday was just too busy with children's rugby, music concerts, picking up from D. of E. weekends etc. to contemplate 17 miles, although if I were truly honest with myself, I could have got up a 6 a.m. for an early start. I decided to go on Monday morning instead, but with the storm at full rage, high winds and rain, I actually decided that it would be safer not to go (didn't really fancy a tree falling down on me at mile 15). And now my daughter is ill and at home from school, so nipping out for a 2 hour run seems a little uncaring! The roof has started to leak and rain is pouring into our bedroom, so there's that to sort out as well.....

Creamy risotto of broad beans, mint and pancetta

Photo by Sara Martineau

We had a good risotto last night. I have to say that this is one of my favourite risottos and although the run was non-existent, it is in fact a great meal to eat straight after a marathon or a big endurance run, partly because it is easy and relaxing to make, partly because it has a relatively high G.I. factor. Risotto rice has a G.I. of 69, the broad beans have a G.I. of 79. I ate this risotto in an Italian restaurant in Amsterdam after the Amsterdam Marathon and I am sure it helped towards my recovery. If I am having a vegetarian moment, I make it without the pancetta. It is also delicious if you add 50 g frozen or fresh peas.

Serves 4
You will need:
3 tbs. olive oil or 50g.unsalted butter plus a knob for the end
350g. Arborio risotto rice
1 onion finely sliced
1 stick of celery finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
300g. broad beans podded (remove outer layer of beans if they are tough), or a pack of frozen broad beans
1.25 -1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock (I only use chicken stock if it is home made)
250 ml. white wine
Bunch of fresh mint, chopped
80g pancetta
100g. freshly grated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Using a large heavy-bottomed pan, gently sauté the onion and celery in the butter/oil until translucent over a low heat, Add the garlic and the pancetta and gently sauté for a couple of minutes, without allowing it to brown.

  2. Add the rice and stir until the grains become translucent and glossy.

  3. Add a ladle of hot stock and stir constantly until it is absorbed. You may need more or less stock according to the type of rice and the rate of absorption. Add the hot stock, a ladle at a time. You need to make sure that each ladleful is absorbed by the rice before you add the next one. This should take about 18-20 minutes.

  4. When the rice is almost cooked, add the wine and the broad beans and the mint (save a little to sprinkle over the top). The texture should be nice and creamy. You may need to add some salt at this point, it depends how salty your stock is.

  5. When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat, stir in the parmesan and a knob of butter. Let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining mint and a few grinds of black pepper.

  6. Serve with a rocket salad and some fresh parmesan shavings.

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