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Degustation risotto #2

Last Sunday I invited over some friends for a risotto degustation menu. Since I’ve been to Verona I learnt about this ‘new’ technique of how to cook rice for risotto. Basically this cooking method requires no stirring and thus it is so very easy to cook a risotto menu that it can be done in a relatively short period of time. The preparation and serving time of this menu was just over two hours and a half. The first risotto was served at 8pm, second one at 845 and third one at 930. It took 45 mins between each dish due to lack of kitchen utensils… so the correct time between each serving would be around 20 minutes.

I had the following 3 different types of risottos planned, all to be prepared with seasonal local produce: (a) risotto with pumpkin, (b) risotto with leeks and pancetta and (c) risotto with cauliflower.

To start with I prepared enough vegetable stock for the two of the dishes. Therefore I used 5 celery stalks, 1 1/2 onion and 5 small carrots. You need to put everything in 3 litres of cold water and bring to boil. Once boiling, simmer for 30/40 minutes, taking care of scooping out the foam that forms at the top of the stock. Once it’s ready add some salt to taste and mix thoroughly. Sieve gently into a bowl and put it aside.  For the risotto with leek and pancetta I had some frozen chicken stock that I defrosted the day before.

Since lately I have been experimenting with quite a variety of risottos I am now making stock on a weekly basis. This can be frozen and then used according to exigencies for a variety of other dishes like soup, risotto, pies, etcetera.

So for the first risotto, you will require the following:

Risotto with pumpkin

Risotto with pumpkin

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 320 g vialone nano rice
  • 700 ml vegetable stock
  • 400 g pumpkin flesh
  • 1/2 onion
  • 40 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 60 g grated parmesan
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper

Finely chop the onion and dice the pumpkin. Add the chopped onion to the frying pan and cook until transparent, then add the pumpkin flesh and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let everything cook until you obtain a soft mixture with pieces of pumpkin still apparent.

In a casserole pan toast the rice with 20g of extra virgin olive oil. Add all the stock at one go and mix delicately. Cover with the lid and put the flame to a minimum. Let rice cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add the pumpkin sauce and finish off cooking the rice (approximately 2 minutes). Taste the rice to see if it is done and once ready add the butter, the grated parmesan and finely chopped parsley.

Serve with with a piece of pumpkin or grilled pancetta.

Risotto with leeks and pancetta

Risotto with leeks and pancetta

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 320 g vialone nano rice
  • 700 ml chicken stock
  • 1 leek
  • 40 g pancetta
  • 40 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 spoonful of butter
  • 40 g grana, grated
  • salt & pepper

Blanch the leek, cut julienne and cook with 20g of extra virgin olive oil. Add the pancetta, cut in thin strips and fry until pink in colour.

In a casserole pan toast the rice with 20g of extra virgin olive oil. Add all the stock at one go and mix delicately. Cover with the lid and put the flame to a minimum.

When the rice is cooked, add the leek and pancetta, switch off the flame and mix in the butter and the grated parmesan. Add some freshly minced pepper.

Serve with grilled strips of pancetta.

Risotto with cauliflower

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 320 g vialone nano rice
  • 700 ml vegetable stock
  • 300 g cauliflower
  • 1 garlic
  • 40 g onion
  • 40 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 ml milk
  • 1 spoonful of butter
  • 40 g grana, grated
  • nutmeg, grated
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper

Chop the cauliflower in pieces, the size of a walnut, and wash them carefully. Set aside until dry.

Finely chop the onion and the garlic clove and add them to a pan with 20g extra virgin olive oil. Cook until transparent.

Add the cauliflower, add salt and pepper to taste, some grated nutmeg, and finally add the milk and cook, on a low flame for 10 mintues, until cauliflower is tender but does not crumble.

In a casserole pan toast the rice with 20g of extra virgin olive oil. Add all the stock at one go and mix delicately. Cover with the lid and put the flame to a minimum.

Once risotto is cooked add the cauliflower sauce, switch off the flame and blend in the butter and the grated parmesan.

Serve with a scatter of finely chopped parsley.

These recipes can be found in the book called ‘Il Riso in Cucina” by Gabriele Ferron.

The combination of these three dishes was excellent and my personal favorite dish was the cauliflower risotto. Overall, I am not a big fan of cauliflower but the smell coming up to your nostrils while having a forkful of risotto was delicious. The nutmeg plays a role in the smell, it actually gives a nice twist. Also the cauliflower florets hides in well between the white grains of the vialone nano making it appear more appetitising!

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