by Chantelle Nicholson from Planted (Kyle Books)
Photography: Nassima Rothacker
'I am firmly in the camp of liking Brussels sprouts. When cooked right, they are nutty and moreish. They need to be cooked over a high heat, otherwise they will stew and go rather soggy. For contrasting textures, I like to use both cooked (vacuum-packed) as well as fresh chestnuts.'
1.5 litres Light Vegetable Stock
2 bay leaves
½ bunch of sage, leaves picked and finely chopped, stalks reserved
270g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
200ml non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely grated
500g carnaroli or Vialone Nano risotto rice
125ml dry white wine
75g non-dairy Parmesan, grated, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons non-dairy butter
300g Brussels sprouts, halved
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
8 fresh chestnuts, peeled and finely sliced (Nigel says use vacuum packed if necessary)
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
Put the stock in a large saucepan with the bay leaves and sage stalks and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer.
Put 180g of the cooked chestnuts into a saucepan with the milk. Season well and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and blend to make a smooth chestnut purée. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and season well. Cook for a few minutes until the onion has softened but not coloured.
Add the rice and stir for a few minutes until the grains become shiny and translucent. Add the wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated.
Add a ladleful of the hot stock and continue stirring until the stock has been absorbed by the rice. Add the remaining stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously until each ladleful has been absorbed before adding the next - this should take 15-20 minutes. Set aside 100ml of hot stock. The risotto is cooked when the rice grains are a little firm but don't have any chalky crunch on the outside when bitten into.
Add the chestnut purée and Parmesan to the risotto and mix well. Turn off the heat and cover the pan while you cook the sprouts.
For the sprouts, Heat the butter in a medium frying pan until very hot. Add the sprouts, cut-side down, and thyme, Season well and cook until a deep golden brown. Turn each sprout over and add the reserved hot stock to the pan. Cook for a further 3 minutes, then remove from heat.
To finish the risotto, add the remaining chopped, cooked chestnuts to the risotto with the chopped sage. Spoon onto warm plates and top with the sprouts, fresh chestnuts and parmesan.