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Five steps to a great risotto

© Myself Courgette and Pea Risotto
© Myself

Ingredients for Risotto Blanco
1 onion, chopped finely.
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely.
1 small stick of celery, strings removed and chopped finely.
3 handfuls of short-grained, plump risotto rice such as Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano.
1 small glass of white wine.
1 litre of good quality stock; chicken, vegetable or fish.
Olive Oil

To finish
Parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon (optional)

Step 1: Sofrito
The onion, garlic and celery are slowly sweated in olive oil until soft. It is important the sofrito does not colour.

Step 2: Tostatura
The heat is turned up and risotto rice is added to the pan. The rice is ‘toasted’ for a minute or so before a cup of wine is added to the pan and stirred to combine.

Step 3: Cottura
A ladle of stock is added to the pan and slowly stirred into the rice. When the stock has been soaked up by the rice, another ladle is added. Keep stirring to massage the starch from the rice, essential for a creamy texture.

Step 4: All’ Onda
Or, ‘The Wave’ and refers to the risotto resembling a wave as a spoon is drawn through it. The dish is nearly ready and tasting is important at this stage. It may need another small ladle of stock. The rice should be soft but with a slight ‘bite’ in the centre (al dente).

Step 5: Mantecure
Once the rice is ‘al dente’, a few knobs of cold, cubed butter is added to the pan along with other adornments such as Parmesan Cheese and a good squeeze of lemon. The pan is covered and allowed to sit for all the flavours, ingredients and textures to amalgamate. Season to taste.

A Risotto Blanco can be taken in many directions according to the seasons and ingredients to hand. Asparagus and pea make a light dish in Spring-time while wild mushrooms, small cubes of roasted squash and a drizzle of earthy truffle oil is perfect for an Autum warmer. Risotto is also an ideal foil for seafood, particularly shrimp, lobster or soft-fleshed fish such as haddock. Hold the Parmesan though, it’s not so good with fish.

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