Il Risotto Perfetto by a tavola!
Anna Pearson who is hosting the a tavola! supper club in Zurich is a veritable expert on Italian Cuisine. She loves dishes that are simple and authentic, and that let the product talk for itself, without any decorative arrangements: Basta! If Anna had to decide for one single dish that best represents all the different aspects of Italian food, she would probably go for risotto.
The difference between an OK risotto and a perfect one is to a large extend a question of patience and concentration – and good ingredients of course. And this is how to read the following recipe: For a Risotto con pancetta affumicata, verza e mozzarella di bufala, just follow the recipe step-by-step. If you keep to only the underlined instructions and ingredients and leave away those written in Italics, the recipe gives you a basic risotto that can be used for multiple variations, depending on what other ingredients you want to use. The parts written in Italics can then be replaced by other preparations of vegetables, mushrooms, meat, fish…, always to be prepared separately and added to the rice only in the end.
And one more important comment: Depending on the ingredients you chose, it might be recommendable to replace the chicken broth by another type of broth. This is obviously an absolute must if your risotto is made with fish or seafood, in which case no Parmesan cheese is added either.
120g Pancetta affumicata (smoked bacon), in slices
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 savoy cabbage, cut in fine strips
Sea salt and pepper
1 onion, finely chopped (by hand! Cutters tend to produce a purée that is unusable)
400gr risotto rice (best use a high quality rice, e.g. Carnaroli, Vialone nano or Arborio)
150ml white wine (dry)
1,5l hot chicken broth (the better the broth, the richer the taste of your risotto)
150gr grated Parmesan cheese
250g Mozzarella di Bufala, in pieces
- Cut the bacon into strips (thin like a match) and roast gently together with the garlic
- Add the savoy cabbage and stew for about 5 minutes
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat
- Stew the onion with half of the butter in a pan until really soft (do it slowly and at low heat)
- Turn up the heat, add the rice and whilst continuously stirring, roast it until glassy
- Once the rice is hot and greasy all over, add the wine and let it boil away
- As soon as the rice looks almost dry again, add the broth little by little whilst keeping to stir continuously (this process takes 15-18 minutes, so allow it to go really slowly! Only add the next portion of broth once the rice has almost absorbed the previous one)
- When the rice is almost done (this depend a bit on how creamy and liquid or firm you like it), take it off the heat and let the risotto rest for a minute or two without stirring
- Add the cabbage-bacon-mixture and finally the parmesan cheese, the morzarella and the remaining butter
- Depending on your taste, you might want to season with pepper and salt, but careful: The cheese and the bacon might contain enough salt already
Buon appetito! A whole load of more tips and tricks for how to make a perfect risotto can be found on the a tavola! website. And if you are curious about Anna Pearson’s supper club a tavola!, a feature is available here.