| lemony risotto

March 15, 2010

What I know about making risotto I have learnt from Locatelli’s book Made in Italy. He tells in minute detail the processes as well as explaining why things are happening, the history of the kitchen decisions, in a way that somehow makes you ‘feel’ the cooking process too. Locatelli says that if you achieved the prefect risotto consistency tilt the bowl and it should ripple like the waves of the sea. All this amazing detail and explanation though, should be read and then forgotten, because to make a risotto is about instinct and practice. It should be done with a light heart.

People get a bit funny about risotto, they say it takes too long, that you have to stir it, as if you’re chained to the stove for days and days. To make a risotto takes less than half an hour and to stir it is a zen occupation that can be achieved with friends sitting at the kitchen table to amuse; everyone with a glass of wine in hand.

We have here a basic recipe for a classic risotto. You could add some porcini half way, or some threads of saffron, or roast garlic and pumpkin to stir through near the end of the cooking process. Make something delicious with the contents of the fridge crisper drawer. I made the roast pumpkin version last week on one of the strangely cool nights and instead of sitting outside under the wisteria we warmed the kitchen and ate creamy rice by the stove.

Lemony Risotto
Adapted from Giorgio Locatelli, Made in Italy, Food and Stories

2.5 litres good chicken stock
50g butter (or a slurp of olive oil)
1 onion, chopped very finely
1 clove garlic, chopped very finely
1 lemon, zested and juiced
400g superfino carnaroli rice (or Arborio)
125ml dry white wine (or as my friend Emilio says a glass for the dish and a glass for you.)
salt and pepper

for the mantecatura
about 75g cold butter, cut into small dice
about 100g finely grated Grana Padano (or Parmesan)

Have the stock barely simmering on the stove beside your risotto pan. (The choice of a heavy based pan is important for the even distribution of the heat.) For the soffritto, fry the onions in the butter or olive oil very slowly so that it becomes soft and transparent. Add garlic to this. Turn up the heat a little and stir and toast the rice in the pan until the grains are all covered in butter and onion. The rice should make a kind of crackly sound here. Add the wine. The pan should make a steamy sigh here. Stir and reduce until the wine has all but disappeared. From here add the stock in increments, stirring all the time (this will take about 18-20 minutes). And add the lemon juice and zest. The rice will take more liquid at the beginning of the cooking time, so take this into account reducing towards the end. Add the stock a ladleful at a time, so that the rice is just covered but not drowning. Let each ladleful almost be absorbed before adding the next. The grains should get plump and shiny. Test the rice at about 15 minutes in. The rice is ready when it is plump and tender, but the centre of the grain still has a slight firmness to the bite. Take the pan off the heat and let the risotto rest for a minute without stirring. Add the butter and cheese and whisk it in. Get your body behind it, you should hear a ‘thunck, thunck’ as you work the ingredients in the pan. The result should be a risotto that is creamy and rich. Taste and season. Serve the risotto straight away.

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lemony risotto: 7 comments

  1. ilaria Says:

    mmmm sounds delicious i am going to try it very soon! I also love orange flavoured risotto!

  2. René Says:

    Love the lemony.

    Beetroot, and wild mushroom risotto… glorious!

  3. Nadia Says:

    Nigella also adds an egg yolk and the smallest slurp of cream at the end with the parmesan. And I do too! DELICIOUS. YUM. YUM.

  4. Lauren-K Says:

    Hi girls, another recipe that looks incredible, I’m going to make it soon. I love this blog.

    Sarah, I have a question for you. All the food is beautifully styled, and I know your a stylist, I’m wondering how you got started? What did you study? Are there many styling jobs available in the creative industry.

    I would so appreciate a reply.

    :)

  5. sarah Says:

    Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for your kind words!
    In terms of getting into styling I’m afraid I have not much advice, I studied Architecture and have been doing my own little projects in styling since.
    I have really just been working on my folio and going from there. I’ve found over time I have improved. The only small snippet of advice I have is that working closely with a photographer is really helpful. If you have any photographer friends, team up, and get a folio started. As for work in the industry, its all a bit clicky, but pitching your work to publications is a good way to begin!
    Hope this helps, good luck!
    Sarah

  6. Hannah Says:

    I’ve just found your blog, and I’m so glad I have. It’s so lovely! I’ll definitely be back.

  7. murray Says:

    thunck, thunck, thunck…
    and my job was only ever to grate the parmesan and drink the wine. missing me wives.

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