Let’s speak about risotto!!! I was born and I live in Lombardia,
homeland of risotto, so for me it’s normal to eat risotto at least
once a week, especially during winter times.
Risotto is one of those Italian dishes that you can find around the
world, but how it is made, with which rice, following which method
it’s not always known…
When at my parents home I substituted my grandma in making risotto, I
began to study books on how to make it (yep, I’m a control freak!).
The basics are quite simple, and cannot be avoided or changed, if not
you do not have a risotto, but something that resemble to it…
There are many schools about which type of rice is best to make
risotto. Sure Arborio is perfect, so as Carnaroli. Original rice must
be used only if you can’t get any of the above. DO NOT USE Asian
rice: nothing against them, I love them, but it will be like making
steamed rice with Arborio and not basmati or jasmine…
First of all, make plenty of good stock. When you begin to make
risotto the stock must be boiling.
Take an onion (small or medium, that depends on how many people will
eat the risotto) and thinly chop it.
Measure the rice: at my parents house rice was measured by pugni
(handfuls), and you will need 2 handfuls for each person, plus one
for the pan.
Prepare all the ingredients you whish to add. So, normally you add
everything just before the rice, but that depends on what you are
going to add: vegetables (except peas and tender vegetables), meat
and shellfish must be add before the rice and fried with the onions,
but cheese or saffron must be add near the end of cooking time… These
really vary on what you are going to use.
Prepare by your side a glass of white wine (but sometimes, rarely,
you will need red wine): normally a glass is enough for four people.
The cheese you normally use (except in fish risotto) is ALWAYS grated
Parmesan. I know it’s expensive, but there isn’t something that can
substitute it in the entire world. Of course when I speak about
Parmesan I mean Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, D.O.C. products,
made only with natural ingredients, nothing added. There could be
some exception, but Parmesan it’s always a must.
The pan and other tools:
You will need a good saucepan, with a heavy bottom and high edges.
You will also need a wooden spoon and a ladle. No more.
Traditionally risotto is made with butter, but you can make it with a
good extra virgin olive oil. NO other oil, just extra virgin olive
oil, ok? I know it’s expensive, but it’s worth it to the last cent! 2
tablespoons are enough for four people.
Heat the oil and add the onions. Fry them briefly until they just
begin to tenderize, but they are not yet golden. At this point you
can add any vegetables or shellfish or meat and fry everything on
high heat, briefly, turning constantly.
At this point you can add the rice and fry it too until is hot when
you touch it (about 3 minutes).
Add the wine, all at once, and let it evaporate, turning constantly.
Form now on you can begin to add ladles of stock: begin with four
ladles (always for four people) and before to add other ladles of
stock you must wait until the stock is completely absorbed. For best
result, keep turning the rice. If you are making yellow risotto,
dissolve saffron in a ladle of stock and add it to rice half way
After 20 minutes the rice should be cooked, and the stock must be
absorbed completely, so, near the end of the 20 minutes, add less
stock. Take it of the heat and begin the mantecatura: you begin to
add little pieces of butter (25 g at most) and grated Parmesan,
turning until it’s all combined. Let the risotto rest for 5 minutes,
and then serve it, with extra Parmesan on the side.
Ok, and after the basics, the recipe!
Pumpkin and salsiccia risotto
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 little onion
9 handfuls of rice
A glass of red wine
1/2 of a little pumpkin, cleaned and diced
200 g of salsiccia (sausage made with only pork meat, buy and
Italian, fresh one), peeled and crushed
Salt if needed
25 g of butter
In a big saucepan, with an heavy bottom, heat the oil and fry the
onion with rosemary, fennel seeds and pepper. Add the salsiccia and
begin to crush it with a wooden fork. Add the pumpkin and let
everything fry for 2 minutes. Add the rice, fry it for 3 minutes,
than add the red wine and let evaporate.
Begin to add 4 ladles of stock, and let it boil, turning constantly.
When all the stock is absorbed, add 2 more ladles, let it absorb,
then ad more, and so on, until the rice is cooked.
Take it off the heat, add butter and Parmesan. Turn it to make it
Let it stand for 5 minutes and then serve it.