Thursday, September 1, 2011
Risotto del vino rosso
Each risotto follows the same basic set of steps and ingredients. If you have rice, stock, onion (shallot), butter and cheese (Parmigiano or Grana Padano), then you have the makings of a cheese risotto. In my house, these ingredients are almost always on hand. A common fear people have is the making of the stock; however, when you make stock, you should always make a large quantity because it freezes well. If you choose to buy stock, then you can easily keep a good amount in your pantry.
Before you know it, you’ll be making up your own risotto recipes. This is very much the way I started out.
Much of my inspiration came from the wine. Keep in mind that with this recipe, the wine pairing is obvious; simply pour the same wine that you used in the risotto and you have a match made in heaven. During a visit to a local shop, I was given a taste of a surprisingly affordable bottle of Merlot from Friuli Italy. For those who don’t know yet, Friuli is not only about white wine these days. In fact, Merlot from Friuli has been garnering some pretty high praise over the last decade, and now quality-minded producers are starting to turn out bottles that won’t break the bank.
Did I mention that it only cost $12.99?
Red Wine Risotto with Roasted Red Grapes
5 Tbls. butter
1-½ quarts of chicken stock
2 cups risotto rice (Arborio, Cannaroli or Vialone nano)
½ red onion (small dice)
1 ¼ cups Italian Red Wine (Don’t go with anything too modern (nothing heavily oaked).)
3 Tbls of pancetta or prosciutto (small dice)
1 carrot (fine dice)
1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gana Padano
2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with roasted red seedless grapes
Place the stock in a pot over a low flame and allow it to come to a simmer.
In a sauté pan, add 3 tbls of butter and place over a medium flame. Once the butter has melted, add the small dice of pancetta. Allow the pancetta to cook for five minutes, or until crispy, and then remove the pancetta and set on the side for later. Add the carrots and cook in the butter and reduced fat from the pancetta. After about two minutes, add the onions. Allow the mixture to sweat in the butter until the onions become translucent. Next, add the rice. Stir to assure that the rice is coated in the butter and allow it to toast slightly but do not allow it to take on any color.
Next, reduce the heat back to medium and add a ladle of stock while constantly stirring. Each time the stock cooks down to the point where the rice begins to form trails in the pan as the spoon stirs it, add another ladle of stock. When there is about 10 minutes left on the timer, sprinkle a small pinch of salt into the risotto.
When the risotto is al dente, remove it from the heat. Add the last two tbls. of butter and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a few cracks of fresh pepper, and stir to combine.
When you are ready to plate, if the rice is too thick, you can add a small ladle of stock, to liven it up. Plate the risotto into small heated bowls, sprinkle with parsley, the remaining pancetta, and spread out some of the roasted grapes on top. Serve.