3.26.10 Fit for a King
There are so many different possibilities for risotto: with saffron for a classic Milanese; with the first peas and asparagus of spring; with pureed squash stirred in; with porcini; and on and on. The recipe, below, is inspired by the Italian master chef Nino Bergese, whose Riso Mantecato is decadent with butter and requires absolutely no stirring at all. I've called my version Risotto da Re (The King's Risotto), because it's fit for royalty: unctuous, luxurious and taken to new heights with a spoonful of rich meat stock ladled on top. It was selected as an Editor's Pick on Food52, an honor of which I do not tire.
Risotto da Re (The King's Risotto) with Rich Meat Stock
- — 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1/2 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
- — 2 tablespoons olive oil
- — 1 large shallot, sliced thin
- — 4 cups vegetable stock
- — 1/3 cup rich meat stock (recipe follows)
- — 1 1/2 cups Acquerello carnaroli rice (or other risotto rice)
- — 3/4 cup dry white wine
- — 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
In a deep pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil over low heat. Add the shallot and cook until golden and soft, about 20 minutes. Remove shallot with slotted spoon and puree in food processor until smooth.
Meanwhile, in two separate saucepans, heat vegetable stock and meat stock, maintaining just below a boil. Stir 2 teaspoons of butter into the meat stock.
Return shallot puree to pan, add rice and raise heat to medium. Stir rice well to coat and sauté for about 4 minutes, then add wine. When it's incorporated, begin adding hot vegetable stock in quarter-cup increments, gently stirring, and only adding more when it's been fully absorbed. The grains of rice will begin to swell.
Start tasting after you've incorporated 2-3 cups (you probably won't need more than 3). When finished, the risotto should retain an "al dente" texture with plump, individual grains. At this point, stir in the 1/2 cup butter and Parmesan.
To serve, plate risotto and create a small well in the center of each mound to hold a couple of spoonfuls of the hot meat stock.
makes about 8 cups
- — 4 pounds pastured beef marrow bones, knuckle bones
- — 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- — 1 large onion, skin on, quartered
- — 2 carrots, sliced
- — 1 leek, white & pale green only, cleaned and sliced
- — 2 celery stalks, sliced
- — 3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones
- — 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- — 5 cloves garlic
- — 2 bay leaves
- — 3 sprigs thyme
- — 1/2 teaspoon green peppercorns, crushed
- — 1 bunch Italian parsley
Place the knuckle and marrow bones in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water. Let stand for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350º in the oven. When well browned, add to the pot along with the vegetables. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan, add cold water to the pan, set over a high flame and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen coagulated juices. Add this liquid to the pot. Add additional water if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking. Bring to a boil. Skim scum as it rises to the surface. When scum no longer rises to the surface, reduce heat and add the thyme and crushed peppercorns.
Cook stock at a very lazy simmer for at least 12 and as long as 72 hours. Just before finishing, add the parsley and simmer another 10 minutes.
You will now have a pot of rather repulsive-looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material. Don't despair! After straining, you will have a delicious and nourishing clear broth.
Remove bones with tongs or slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl. Let cool, then refrigerate and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top. Transfer stock to smaller containers and refrigerate, or freeze for long-term storage.