I like making risotto. I like the fact that you can’t walk away (whatever Delia tells you) but must stand patiently at the stove for around twenty minutes, adding small ladles of hot stock and massaging it into the rice before adding some more. It gives you time to think. As all around you life moves at its usual pace, you’re in a time slip where everything goes by slowly. A bit like one of those speeded up films with music by Philip Glass, sunrise, sunset, sunrise etc.

I love leftover risotto for my lunch the next day and will often barefacedly lie to the family when they ask for seconds by saying there is no more when in fact there is. And I like taking cold risotto, shaping it into a small ball, poking a piece of mozzarella inside, coating the ball with breadcrumbs and deep frying it. The mozzarella makes great strings when you eat it, hence the Italians calling it ‘on the telephone’ as it resembles the looping ‘phone lines of Rome.

You need good rice though and it has of course to be the round grain type, not long grain or basmati which don’t break down the same way at all.

Gallo make good rice, I buy it myself although I do also buy basic arborio risotto rice by the Kilo from the big sack in the local deli. It’s cheap!

Riso Gallo comes in three varieties,. Carnaroli is known as the ‘King of Italian Rices” and is the preferred choice of top chefs. A balanced consistency of creaminess and firmness. Vialone Nano, a favourite among Venetians, is ideal for very creamy risottos due to its particularly stubby grain. This is a good choice for fish dishes. Arborio is the most well known risotto rice and perfect for vegetable based risotto.

Gallo’s website is full of ideas

To make risotto

1) Soften chopped onion in butter or oil. White onions work best unless you are making mushroom risotto where red onions will give a nice colour. Then add the rice – one cup (80g) per person.

2) Coat rice – stir the risotto gently so that all the grains are coated. They will become translucent.

3) Add a good splash of white wine. Once absorbed, gradually add your hot stock ladle full by ladle full as each is absorbed. Keep giving it a gentle stir – stirring releases the starch which makes the risotto creamy.

4) Finally, when all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice has just a touch of firmness left in the centre, add your preferred ingredients – ham and pea, butternut squash and sage or three cheese – the options are endless!