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.
- — 2 1/2 pounds pastured beef marrow bones
- — 1 large onion, quartered
- — 2 carrots, sliced
- — 1 leek, cleaned and sliced
- — 2 celery stalks, sliced
- — 2 1/2 pounds pastured chuck, cubed
- — 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- — 5 cloves garlic
- — 2 bay leaves
- — 3 sprigs thyme
- — 3 sprigs Italian parsley
- — 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the bones with cold water and pat dry. Place the vegetables in a single layer in a large roasting pan and add the bones on top. Roast, turning the bones a few times, until well browned; about 1 hour.
Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large soup pot, discarding fat from the roasting pan. Deglaze the pan with a couple of cups of water over high heat, scraping up all the brown bits. Add this to the bones, along with the cubed meat, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Pour in cold water to cover the bones and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a lazy simmer and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Do not stir. Add peppercorns, and continue to simmer very gently, partially covered, for 4-8 hours, skimming from time to time.
Cool stock slightly, then strain and discard solids. Cool to room temp and refrigerate overnight. The following day, remove fat that has risen to the top, and discard any debris that has sunk to the bottom. Salt before using or, if planning to reduce, wait to add salt until later. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, or divided into smaller quantities and frozen for future use, up to 6 months.