Rice was introduced to the Italians by the Arabs who dominated Sicily and parts of the Southern mainland in the late Middle Ages, but proved best suited to the vast marshy regions of the Po Valley, where it was enthusiastically adopted by the residents of the Veneto region, Lombardia and Piemonte. The Lombardy and Piedmont regions comprise Italy’s rice bowl, two exceptions in wheat eating Europe. Italy is famous for its aromatic, rich and slow cooked risottos.
Risotto is Italian Arborio rice cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-based or vegetable-based. Risotto is normally a primo (first course), served on its own before the main course.
You can pick up all the ingredients required for a perfect Risotto at your nearest Nature’s Basket Store-from Arborio Rice, Olive Oil, porcini mushroom, parmesan cheese, white wines to aromatic herbs.
Here is a basic recipe for Risotto:
- 1-1 1/2 handfuls of uncooked risotto per person
- 2 1/2 cups stock (chicken, fish or vegetable as appropriate)
- 1 ½ tbsp of butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- ½ a head of celery, finely chopped
- ½ cup of dry white wine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat the stock. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
- The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.
- Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.
- Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.
Porcini Mushroom Risotto
Time: 40 minutes
- 30g OR ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 small onion- finely sliced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) Arborio rice
- 1/3 cup dry white wine,-warmed in a pan on the stove
- 1 cup (50 g)- freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano/Parmesan cheese
- 2 ½ cups of broth
- 1 tbsp parsley, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Steep the porcini in a cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes. Squeeze and transfer to plate. Chop coarsely.
- Meanwhile, slice the onion finely and sauté it in either three tablespoons of oil or 1/4 cup of butter. When lightly brown add chopped mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.
- Stir rice into the drippings in the pot and sauté for 7-10 minutes, until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly lest it stick and burn.
- Return the onion mushroom mix to the pot, stir in the wine, and continue stirring until it has evaporated completely.
- Stir in a first ladle of liquid (if you’re using plain water, add about 3/4 tsp of salt ) and while it’s absorbing, chop the mushrooms and strain the liquid they soaked in, which can contain sand.
- Add the mushrooms and then continue adding water or broth a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally.
- About five minutes before the rice is done, check seasoning.
- As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the butter, half the cheese, and a little bit of ground pepper, transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with parsley, and cover the risotto for two minutes.
- Serve with the remaining grated cheese.
Buy white butter online from Natures Basket store at best prices !!