This is a simple and delicate dish and gaining confidence with this recipe will open your eyes to the marvellous world of the risottos. Parmigiana risotto is the father of all the risottos and is the basic risotto recipe from which all others are developed!
At the right stage, depending on the ingredients you want to add, you can use one of the following options: zucchini, peas, pumpkin, fennel, parsley, radicchio, spinach, mushrooms, ham, sausage, prawns, salmon, are just a few of the many variations you can create, and then follow the recipe until the end.
Anyway, the Parmigiana risotto is a classic that always works very well with any guest.
Ingredients (Metric & Imperial measurements):
Nutrition facts: Calories 650 per serving.
Ingredients (U.S. measurements):
12-14 ounces Carnaroli rice (alternatively Arborio rice)
3 ounces Butter (separate in one 2 ounces knob and one 1 ounce knob)
1/2 Onion (finely chopped)
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) White wine
4 1/4 cups of hot beef stock - 2 stock cubes - (I have to say that you often need more than 4 1/4 cups so have some extra stock handy)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
Salt for seasoning
First and foremost, before you start cooking, be sure that the first thing you do is prepare the stock so that it is readily available when required. The best thing to do is to have the stock just simmering, and no more, on the cooker.
Put 50 g (2 ounces) of the butter in a large pan and melt it (Keep the remaining butter for later).
Add the finely chopped onion and sweat over a medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
Then add a spoonful of stock and continue cooking for about 1 minute.
Add the rice and stir until the rice is completely coated with the butter. You can see that the rice will start to become translucent. Keep stirring and sweat the rice for a minute or two.
Then, add the white wine, keep stirring and let the wine evaporate (it will probably take a couple of minutes).
Now, add the stock and turn the heat to medium/low. The stock, which is kept simmering in order to stay hot, should be added at the rate of a couple of ladlefuls at a time and when this is absorbed, add more stock. Carry on in this way for about 15 minutes. During this stage, do not leave the pan alone and stir regularly (gently).
Note: I have seen some people, to make it easier, adding most of the stock available directly at the start (like shown in the photograph) and to completely cover the rice. Then, they leave the pan alone for 15 minutes or so (simmering) and after they come back to continue the last stage. I suggest not to use this method because it is more what I would call "boiled rice" rather than a proper risotto.
After 15 minutes, you will probably need an extra 3 to 5 minutes to complete the final stage of cooking (this time depends on the type of rice you are using). From now on, taste the rice every minute until the rice is cooked “al dente” (this means that the rice is tender outside, but still slightly firm to the bite in the centre). At the same time, the tasting will tell you if you need to adjust seasoning with salt. Regular but gentle stirring is required for the last minutes in order to avoid the risotto sticking to the bottom of the pan.
In these last minutes, if the stock is completely absorbed, you can gradually add a bit more (say half ladle at a time) because at this final stage you do not want the risotto becoming too watery.
When the rice is perfectly cooked ”al dente”, add the Parmesan cheese and stir for few seconds.
Then, put the cooker off, add all the remaining butter and stir until completely melted.
Cover the pan with a lid for about 1 minute and allow the risotto to rest before serving it.
Risotto should be served "all'onda" (like a wave). This means that when you serve it onto a plate, it should still flow a little.
Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.
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