Risotto wasn’t common in Umbria until relatively recently – grains and pulses are the common crops, making pasta our mainstay. As a young cook, though, my mother was exposed to new things, and risotto became her forte. Sunday lunch was the only time she could cook for her own family, so she liked to spoil us. One pranzo she made her already special risotto extraordinary by adding strawberries – and today we’ve further added to the experience in the restaurant by including scallops. Today we are using smoked meats.
OUR PRODUCERS: Alpine Saffron, Gamila at Beechworth, Gamze Smokehouse Meats, Sapunars Produce, Mt. Buffalo Olives and Alpine Valley Vignerons
Risotto can be made a few ways. I like the classic version that uses flavoursome broth and just one or two lovely ingredients, with good cheese or butter to finish the dish. I don’t stir it continuously, but do think it is important to stir the rice well while it is toasting to ensure it doesn’t burn. I use Carnaroli or Arborio rice in the restaurant as they hold their shape, but at home I prefer tender Vialone Nano. It is true that it is easier to overcook, but I think it gives the palate the most pleasure.
The Dal Zotto family from the King Valley pioneered the production of Prosecco in Australia. This subtly fizzy wine is a perfect aperitif as it wakes up the tastebuds, and it is beautiful in this dish.
- 50 g butter
- 2 tablespoons (40 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) Vialone Nano or Arborio rice
- 1 ½ cups (375ml) Prosecco
- 2 cups (500 ml) stock vegetarian or chicken
- 100 g Taleggio, cheese
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 12 strand of saffron
- 60 g Herb Butter mix of herbs from our stalls, and vegetables.
- Choizo, speck or sausage from Gamze
Preheat the oven to 220˚C. Gently warm the stock in a saucepan with the saffron strands. Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy-based deep frying pan over medium heat until sizzling, then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Season with salt.
Add the rice and stir constantly for a few minutes until toasted and coated with the butter – make sure it doesn’t burn. Stir in the prosecco and cook for 10 minutes or until absorbed by the rice – the spoon will leave a clear path after it is pushed from one side of the pan to the other.
Add half the chorizo or sausages and then a ladleful of warm broth and cook without stirring until the liquid has been absorbed – run the spoon through the rice again to check.
Continue adding stock a ladleful at a time until the rice is al dente – this should take about 20 minutes, depending on the type of rice used. Gently stir in the remaining chorizo, vegetable and cheese, then set aside to rest for 3 minutes