Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Rules of Risotto

Signature Series Skillet (10
The Italians take risotto very seriously, here's a recipe by Julian Briercliffe so you can produce an authentic dish...


2.5l chicken stock
50g butter
1 onion chopped v.v. finely
400g superfino carnaroli rice
125ml dry white wine

for the mantecatura:
75g cold butter cut into small dice
100g finely grated grana padano or parmesan

Chop onions very finely so that they are not obvious in the finished dish, grate parmesan very finely so that it absorbs quickly at the end. Take very cold butter and dice it evenly, place in the fridge, this means it will be emulsified during the mantecatura (addition at the end)
bring the stock to the boil, then turn down to a bare simmer.

Put a heavy based pan on to heat, and add 50g butter to melt.
add the chopped onion, and cook very slowly for about 5 mins.
Sweat the onion so that it loses it's pungency, but doesn't brown.

Turn the heat up a little and add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, covering the grains with butter and onion, and getting the grains up to temperature before adding the wine. this process is called the 'tostatura' the 'toasting' of the rice.

Add the wine and allow to reduce until almost dry, this removes any tannins and bitterness of alcohol.
From this point the dish will take 17-18 minutes (a minute or so less if doubling the quantity).
start to add the stock a ladleful at a time, each addition should be just enough to cover, but not drown the rice.
Stir at all times, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed, before adding the next.
Keep the mixture runny, never allowing it to completely dry out, and keep the rice moving so that it cooks evenly.
The rice will become more shiny and begin to swell as the starch releases and makes the risotto more creamy.
Keep the risotto bubbling, and continue to add the stock, a ladleful at a time.
after 15 minutes start to test the rice, taking care to allow it to cool slightly (risotto retains heat very well!) the rice is ready when it is plump and firm, but still has a slight firmness to the bite at the centre of the grain.
When the rice is ready, reduce the amount of stock you are adding, so that the finished dish is not too sloppy.
You can always add a little stock after the mantecatura if it is a little stiff.
take the pan off the heat and allow the risotto to rest for a moment, this will allow the temperature to drop slightly and reduce the risk of the risotto splitting during the addition of butter and parmesan.
Quickly beat in the cold butter, and then the cheese in a robust fashion. really go at it!
at this point taste to check the seasoning and serve.
If you have achieved perfect consistency, when you tip the bowl the risotto should ripple like the sea (all'onda).

Wild mushrooms, especially porcini go particularly well in a risotto, as do, of course truffles(or infused oil)