The Art of Risotto
We love Italian cuisine for its reliance on simple, fundamental techniques that showcase the beauty of the country’s ingredients, which is unsurpassed. Lake Como, in particular, is fortunate to have access not only to freshwater fish and wide-ranging local produce but also to some of Italy’s best cheeses and meats. And, just like the diverse nature of its landscape and cultural influences, the regional cooking blends the best of assorted traditional ingredients and dishes.
In a risotto pan, heat the bone marrow for approximately 3 minutes. Sauté the onion, leek and pancetta for approximately 5-6 minutes until caramelized. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste to enhance the aroma of the marrow and ingredients. Add the rice and sauté until the rice is semi-transparent.
Deglaze the pan with white wine and mix constantly until all liquid is evaporated. Stir in approximately 4 ladles of hot duck stock to submerge the rice and ingredients. Throughout the process of making the risotto, the risotto should be submerged in stock at all times, and stirred constantly. When 4-5 cups of stock have been absorbed, mix in all of the tellagio and the cubed parmesan and continue to cook the risotto until the rice is al dente (firm) and creamy. A guide for this is that when you shake the pot, the risotto liquid will make waves. Risotto should not be cooked for more than 20 minutes.
Once al dente, remove the risotto from the heat and let stand for five minutes, which will allow the rice to finish cooking and to thicken in consistency. Serve hot with loads of parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Risotto can be one of the most satisfying foods when cooked properly, and the secret to preparing it correctly is to add liquid gradually, stir constantly, and be careful not to overcook it. Mushrooms are popular in this region and pair nicely with the dish, but take a cue from the Italian kitchen and use whatever vegetable is in season at the moment that you enjoy. Asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, or butternut squash are just a few options that would work well.
Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low.
In large, wide saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high, and add mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Sauté until liquid has released and mushrooms have caramelized, about 6 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add garlic, and cook for an additional minute. Remove from pan and reserve.
Heat remaining butter in pan over medium heat. When foam subsides, add rice and stir constantly, until rice is toasted evenly, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed. Repeat process with chicken stock, adding 1 cup at a time. Cook until rice is tender but not mushy, and creamy but not soupy. Add cheese and parsley, adjust seasoning, and serve immediately.