Risotto bianco & friulano

This is the basic white risotto recipe I use – but don’t be fooled into thinking just because it is basic that it doesn’t taste good. In fact, it tastes awesome. It’s great comfort food, and once you’ve mastered it (not that there is much to master), you can play about with it and add different flavours and vegetables, like mushrooms and tomato. It’s a keeper, no doubt about that.

Risotto bianco (serves 5-6)

2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped
5 sticks of celery, trimmed & finely chopped
400g risotto
2 glasses of dry white wine
70g + a knob of butter
100g (or so) Parmesan
sea salt & pepper

Heat the stock. In a separate pan add the oil, butter, onion, garlic and celery. Cook very slowly without colouring for about 15 mins. Add the rice and turn up the heat. Fry and keep stirring for a minute or so and then add the wine.

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add a ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding some more stock as each ladle is absorbed by the rice. When about 15 minutes has past check to see if the rice has been cooked through. The grains should be firm without being chalky in the middle. Season to taste.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan, stirring well and leaving to sit or a few minutes. It should be thick and creamy. Serve neat, or with roasted root vegetables. And a glass of wine. Naturally.

The wine match

Back in July we did risotto with fresh mussels. It was tomato-based, so it worked well with light reds, as well as whites and rosés. Although I think risotto bianco is better with white wine, there’s no reason you can’t go for a red. The lighter the better probably, like Farnese’s Montepulciano.

A wine that will really sing with risotto bianco is the Borgo Magredo Friulano. It’s one of my favourite food wines, but even without food, it is very clean, crisp and refreshing. A super little number. For something a little different, I would recommend Ant Moore’s dry Riesling. For some, Riesling is too much of a risk, but it really shouldn’t be. This is the kind of wine should be a staple in anyone’s fridge, anytime of the year. IMHO.

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