150g cavolo nero, stems removed
30g basil leaves
200ml cold water
1-1.2 litres vegetable or chicken stock
olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small leek, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
400g arborio or carnaroli rice
120ml dry white wine
80g parmesan
1 tablespoon butter
20g chives, chopped
120g fresh dill, chopped

In my view, a good risotto requires three key things: the best ingredients you can source, attention and patience. Oh, and maybe a fourth: a large glass of wine in hand. The end result is to create a risotto that is never too stiff or a mound of glug on a plate; it should be wet, sloppy and creamy (think pouring consistency).


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1.To blanch the cavolo nero, cook it in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, drain then transfer to a bowl full of iced water for 3-4 minutes.
2.Drain, then place in a food processor with the basil and water and blitz until you have a smooth green slurry, adding more water if necessary. Set aside.
3.Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan and keep warm over a very low heat.
4.Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat.
5.Add the onion and leek with a generous pinch of salt and sauté until translucent and softened, but you don’t want any colour.
6.Add the garlic and thyme and sauté for about 1 minute.
7.Turn the heat up to medium, add the rice and stir well to coat all the grains in the oil.
8.Continue to sauté the rice until it becomes slightly translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
9.Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated.
10.Add one ladleful of stock and cook, stirring almost constantly, until it is fully absorbed.
11.Repeat the process until the rice is nearly cooked – it should be tender with a slight bite (about 10-25 minutes).
12.Add the cavolo nero mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is fully cooked.
13.If you find the rice is too stiff, just add hot water to loosen everything up.
14.Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the cheese and butter and season.
15.Cover and let it rest for 3 minutes, which will allow everything to meld together and become deliciously creamy.
16.Fold in the chives and dill, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more hot water again if you find the risotto too gluggy or stiff. Serve immediately.

Recipes & food styling Marc Weir / Photography Amber-Jayne Bain