Traditional winter vegetables seem to have lost favour these days, being replaced by the non-seasonal veggies we are so used to seeing on the supermarket shelves but we’re missing the opportunity to buy home grown and usually cheaper produce. I understand that sometimes these more traditional vegetables don’t ‘fit’ with modern tastes but there’s really no reason recipes can’t be adapted to include these nutritious veggies.


Here’s an off the wall risotto to utilise sprouts which are like kryptonite to some people and loved by others. Even the haters can be swayed by this dish so give it a try.

This serves 2 but just increase proportionally to serve more people.





2 handfuls of Brussels sprouts, trimmed.

Half an onion-finely chopped

1 clove of garlic-crushed (use lazy garlic or flakes if this is what you have)

2 large Portobello mushrooms (or a good handful of button mushrooms)

Fresh basil (dried will be fine)

4 handfuls of risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)

Pinch of saffron (ground paprika is a good substitute)

Olive oil

Butter (easily omitted if you want this to be vegan)

Vegetable stock (stock cube or homemade-around 3 times the volume of the rice)

White wine or vermouth (completely optional but you might be dregs left in the cupboard!)

Black pepper

Salt to taste



Toss the sprouts in some of the butter and oil, place into ovenproof dish and roast on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until caramelized. While they’re roasting slice the mushrooms and put into a frying pan with onion and garlic, olive oil & a knob of butter (if used) and sauté gently while you’re cooking the rice. Bring the stock to a simmer.


Add olive oil and a knob of butter (if using) to a heavy based pan. Allow to sizzle and add the saffron (if using) and the rice. Make sure each grain is coated in oil and cook gently for around 5 minutes, this will ensure all liquids are absorbed in the next stage. If you’re using paprika instead of saffron add this now, a teaspoon will be sufficient.


So now we have the sprouts slowly caramelizing in the oven, the onion and mushrooms gently sautéing in a frying pan and the risotto rice starting to break up a little in the heavy based pan. Now you need to add the wine or vermouth if using, this will cause the rice to spit and splutter so make sure the heat isn’t too high under the rice pan. Stir constantly and when all wine/vermouth is absorbed add a ladle of stock, stir until absorbed, keep adding ladles of stock one at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding the next one. Test the rice to see if the texture is right. Now stir in the mushroom and onion mix then add the caramelised sprouts.


Season to taste and serve.


It’s quick, tasty and although you need to keep stirring to avoid the rice catching on the bottom of the pan it’s worth this small effort.


Happy cooking.