This is a risotto alla Persiana! An italian take on a classic persian pilaf called Adas-Polo. I made this recipe for a cooking contest and I came second. It's full of perfumes from the far lands. To make this risotto vegan, simply omit the cheese, or replace with a little bit of nutritional yeast. —Saghar Setareh
Whole grain or semi-whole grain risotto rice
Check your lentils for any pebbles and wash them. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the lentils with some salt and turn down the heat and let it cook for at least 20 minutes. Remember lentils need a lot of water. Taste them and drain them when they’re cooked but not soft until the skin peels off.
Soak the raisins in a small bowl of water. Infuse the saffron in small cup of hot water and cover.
Chop the onions. I’d like mine long and thin. Heat most of the oil in a large pan and when it’s warm enough add the onions. Turn down the heat after a minute. When The onion starts to golden add the turmeric and stir. Add 1/4 cup of hot water. When it’s mostly absorbed and the onion is soft add the rice and turn up the heat and stir for a minute or two. Add hot water enough to cover the rice and turn down the heat.
The secret of a good risotto is stirring and adding the liquid little by little. Don’t ever let it dry and stir often. It should take about 20 minutes. More or less, depends on the type of the rice. Whole grain rice is the one that takes the most time.
Chop the walnuts coarsely and toast them in a small pan until they smell fabulous. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Chop your cheese into tiny cubes. (If you’re using creamier cheese divide into peaces, if your cheese very hard shred it.)
Add some hot water to the rice for the last time and add the drained lentils and the infused saffron.
Drain and strain the raisins and add to the rice mixture. Everything must be still quite wet at this point, So if needed add more hot water.
Add the cheese cubes and stir slowly and let the cheese melt in the risotto. Taste and add some salt if necessary.
Add the toasted walnuts. One last stir, then turn off the heat and let it a rest for a minute.
Toast a really thin slice of core of and apple in drizzling small pan.
Serve the risotto in a soup plate. Place the apple slice on top with some chopped walnuts and some cheese cubes. Sprinkle with a tiny dash of cinnamon and finish it off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
*The amount of lentils should be a little less than a half of the rice, weight wise.
** To make this risotto vegan, simply omit the cheese, or replace with a little bit of nutritional yeast.