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Risotto Carbonara


(serves 3)
Here we have an unusual flavour for risotto, the trademark combination of pancetta, parmigiano and raw egg yolk known as Carbonara.
 Arborio rice is a good deal more starchy than pasta so its not as simple as making a carbonara sauce and pouring it over cooked rice. We also desire some bits of other crunchy morsels in the rice to give our risotto a bit more textural variety. Therefore I’ve had to improvise with some other additional ingredients…
 
Ingredients Risotto Carbonara
  1. Cubed Pancetta (300g)
  2. Luncheon Meat (200g)
  3. Bacon (3 slices)
  4. Arborio Rice (1 cup)
  5. Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 cup)
  6. Onion (1)
  7. Spring Onion (8 stalks)
  8. Mushrooms (100g)
  9. Butter (40g)
  10. Eggs (2)
  11. Cream (1/2 cup)
  12. Basil
  13. Brandy
  14. Turmeric

Preparation

  1. Start with the stock first. Cut the luncheon meat into 1cm cubes and boil them in 4 cups of water. When the water is boiling, add 3 slices of bacon, 4 stalks of spring onion and 1 flat t of turmeric. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. While the simmering is going on, fry 300g of cubed pancetta on low heat in a pan. While the pancetta is being fried (you only need to move it occasionally), dice 1 onion finely.
  3. When the lard has been melted off the pancetta, remove the bits of meat, leaving the oil in the pan. Stir fry the onion bit over a low flame in this oil till they begin to caramelize.
  4. Next, add 1 cup of Arborio rice to the pan and continue to stir fry for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.
  5. Cut the remaining spring onion into small bits, keeping the bits from the bottom half separate from the bits from the top half. Also, slice your mushrooms, and grate 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix the cheese with 30g of diced butter.
  6. By this time, the 1 hour on the stock to be up. Keep the fire going under the stock. Reheat the pan on low heat and then ladle some of the boiling stock (liquid only, not the solids) into the rice. Keep the pan on a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Add more stock whenever the rice begins to dry. Add more water to the stock pot when that begins to dry up.
  7. After 20 minutes, add 1/4 cup cream, 3T of brandy and 1t of sugar. Then mix in the mushroom slices, 1T of chopped basil and the white portion of the chopped spring onions.
  8. Soon thereafter the rice will get to the al dente stage. At that time turn off the heat and add another 1/4 cup of cream, 2 egg yolks, the pancetta bits and the cheese-butter mixture. Give everything a thorough mixing and keep covered for 10 minutes while the rice fluffs up.
  9. You shouldn’t need to add any salt but taste for saltiness anyway, just in case. Plate and serve immediately after the 10 minutes is up. Sprinkle on some black pepper and use the remaining green part of the chopped spring onions as garnishing.

Notes

  • If you are making risotto for the first time, refer to this earlier recipe for more details on risotto making.
  • If you like Carbonara, you might be interested in my Lagsana Carbonara or Fettucine Carbonara recipes.
  • I normally don’t add cream to my risotto, but this is a Cabonara after all.
  • For this recipe both the smoked or sweetened pancetta varieties are suitable.  
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in A Kobi Original, Italian, Main Courses, Recipe

 

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Porcini and Chicken Risotto


(serves 5)
Porcini mushrooms and risotto are a match made in culinary heaven. Sometimes referred to as the king of mushrooms, porcini are often dried to enhance their flavour and when rehydrated, give a rich nutty ‘soup’ which can be added as stock to the risotto. This particular recipe also introduces some chicken and proscuitto to bring out a meaty undertone, but in a manner which doesn’t compete with the flavour of the porcini.

IngredientsPorcini and Chicken Risotto

  1. Dried Porcini Mushrooms (30g)
  2. Proscuitto, sliced (100g)
  3. Arborio Rice (1.25 cups)
  4. Chicken Leg and Thigh (1)
  5. Shallots (4)
  6. Butter (50g)
  7. Grated Grana Padano (1/4 cup)
  8. Chicken stock cube
  9. Cognac

Preparation

  1. Simmer your chicken leg in 3 cups of water and one chicken stock cube, for at least an hour. For best results, do this the night before.
  2. After the stock has matured and cooled, remove the skin and shred the soft chicken meat by hand into small bundles of fibres. If you don’t boil the chicken for long enough, you won’t be able to do this.
  3. You also need to soak your porcini in 1 cup of water for about an hour before you begin making the risotto.  Use cold water, as hot water will give the porcini a slight rubbery texture after it rehydrates.
  4. Roll up your proscuitto slices and cut each roll lengthwise into two. Then cut bits of the half rolls to arrive at small rectangular slivers. On medium heat in a non-stick pan, fry the proscuitto to a crisp with 2T of olive oil. Sprinkle in 1/2 t of sugar and then remove the meat using a strainer for later use. Return the dripped oil to the pan.
  5. Julienne the shallots into small pieces that are the size of rice grains and fry them in the retained oil plus an additional 2T of olive oil to form a sofritto. Its best you use the same pan without washing. Stir-fry under low heat until the shallots are limp, taking care not to caramelize them. 

Stop here if you are preparing ahead of time, for this marks the point of no return. Once you begin the next stage, you’ll need to serve the risotto soon after it is done.

  1. Turn up the heat on the pan and add the rice into the soffritto, stirring well to coat the kernels with oil. Add the shredded chicken and continue to stir-fry for 5 minutes or so. Seperately, reheat your chicken stock to a boil.
  2.  At this stage it is usual to add some sort of wine to the rice but in this case, we’ll be adding the procini and the flavoursome water used in their soaking instead. Reduce the heat to produce a low simmer.  Stir until the risotto begins to dry, then proceed to ladle in the hot chicken stock. Add just a ladle of stock each time, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Continue doing this for about 20 minutes and when the stock runs out, just use plain water instead.
  3. When your risotto becomes creamy and al dente and you can let it almost dry up, after which you turn off the heat.  Total simmering time varies a bit with the type of grain you are using, so rely on taste and appearance to decide if the risotto is done and not a timer.
  4. Cut a ¼ slab of butter into 1 cm cubes and mix it with finely grated grana padano, a milder hard cheese which doesn’t crowd out the porcini flavour. This forms the mantecatura, which is stirred in towards the end when risotto is made.  In addition, sprinkle on some black pepper and 2T of brandy. After tasting, you may add a bit of salt or more cheese as a final adjustment if you deem necessary.
  5. Cover the pot and let the risotto rest for 5 minutes so that it can absorb a bit more liquid and fluff up. Garnish with the crispy procuitto as the final touch.

NotesDried Porcini

  • My first risotto recipe contains many of the finer points on making risotto, which I have opted not to repeat here. You should refer to that post if you don’ make risotto often.  
  • 30g sounds like a really small amount to use, but as the mushrooms are dessicated, this works out to be almost a cup in volume.
  • I know I’ve said don’t use stock cubes for risotto, but this is a special case. The salt content is taken into account in the recipe.
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2010 in Italian, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe

 

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Red Seafood Risotto


(serves 4)
Its actually looks more orange than red, but this recipe uses crustacean heads, so that makes it a red risotto. Risotto is a dish that is conceptually simple, but difficult to master in practice. This particular risotto, which uses prawns, scallops and portobello as its core ingredients is one of my favouites.

Rather than describe how one type of risotto is made, I’ve decided to write this recipe in such a way that is becomes a generic guide to making risotto as well. So it looks like its very long, but actually it just contains many of the finer details which I usually gloss over.

IngredientsRed Risotto

  1. Tiger Prawns (6)
  2. Large Scallops (6)
  3. Arborio Rice (1 cup)
  4. Smoked Clams in oil (1 tin)
  5. Lobster Bisque (1/2 can)
  6. Onion (1)
  7. Portobello Mushrooms (2)
  8. Butter (50g)
  9. Chardonnay (½ cup)
  10. Pecorino Romano (1/4 cup)
  11. Cognac
  12. Coriander Powder

Preparation – Stock

  1. On medium heat, brown 1T of pressed garlic in 2T butter. Don’t use a non-stick pan as you’ll be scratching it later.
  2. Cut the heads of your prawns off while waiting for the garlic to brown, then stir fry the prawn heads in the garlic oil. When the heads have become completely red for a minute, pour in 1 cup of water.
  3. As the water boils, cut each head into three pieces using a large pair of kitchen scissors and then crush the heads with a wooden spatula, the type with a flat edge. Next decant the liquid through a strainer into a pot.
  4. Repeat another two times such that you end up with 3 cups of clear stock in the pot. Now add 1/2 a can of lobster bisque to complete the stock.
  • NEVER add salt to the stock as you will lose control of how salty the risotto is after the water has evaporated.
  • Commercially pre-made stock is pre-salted, making them unsuitable for risotto.

Preparation – Soffritto

  1. For the soffritto, you’ll need to use a non-stick pan i.e. a different one from the one used earlier. This will ensure that you won’t get a burnt taste from bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Julienne the onion into pieces that are the size of rice grains and fry them in 4T of olive oil using low heat until they are limp. You should do this without caramelizing the onion. Adding a pinch of salt at the start will help keep the onion from browning.
  3. Stop here if you are preparing ahead of time, for this marks the point of no return. Once you begin the next stage, you’ll need to serve the risotto soon after it is done.
  • The onions will practically dissolve into the risotto. Many Italian recipes utilize this method, using aromatic vegetables and sometimes bacon bits, to arrive at a more complex and satisfying flavor.

Preparation – Simmer

  1. Turn up the heat on the pan and add the rice into the soffritto, stirring well to coat the kernels with oil. Continue to stir-fry for 5 minutes or so.
  2. Add the wine, and stir until it almost evaporates completely before adding a ladle of stock. After adding the stock, adjust down the heat to produce a low simmer.
  3. Each time, add just a ladle of stock, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add more stock each time the rice begins to dry out.
  4. In between stirring, de-shell and de-vein the prawn bodies and dice them, and dice the mushroom and scallops as well, into fingernail sized pieces. After simmering for 15 minutes, add the diced ingredients and smoked clams.
  5. Continue stirring and simmering the rice for about another 10 minutes until it is creamy and al dente, then turn off the fire.
  6. Total simmering time should have been about 30 minutes but rely on taste and appearance to decide if the risotto is done and not a timer.
  • NEVER add cold stock to risotto as repeated sudden cooling makes the rice powdery. So keep that stock on a simmer in a separate pot.
  • NEVER add all the stock at one go. You don’t know exactly how much stock you need and this takes away your control of the cooking time.
  • Constant stirring rubs off bits of the grains’ surface, giving the starch that creates a risotto’s characteristic creaminess.
  • Arborio is the standard rice type for risottos although the more expensive carnaroli rice is sometimes used. Carnaroli cooks faster and absorbs more liquid, which means it will have a stronger stock flavour.

Preparation – Mantecatura

  1. Cut a ¼ slab of butter into 1 cm cubes and mix with finely grated pecorino romano (or any other kind of hard cheese). This forms the mantecatura, which is stirred in as the finishing touch. For an extra creamy texture, you can cheat by stirring in 1T of marscapone as well. This is optional.
  2. Next, sprinkle on some black pepper, 1T of Coriander Powder, 2T of brandy and a ½ t of sugar. After tasting, you may add salt or more cheese as a final adjustment if necessary.
  • NEVER add salt before this stage, as the concentration of the stock increases flavour over time, and besides hard cheese is salty.
  • I prefer using pecorino romano as it is a stronger grating cheese which goes well with rice but other hard cheeses can be substituted if desired. Check out my Cheese Page for more details.

Resting

  1. Cover the pot and let the risotto rest for 5 minutes so that it can absorb a bit more liquid and fluff up.
  2. Garnish with a bit of coarsely grated pecorino romano as you serve.
  • This is the ONLY time you should cover it.
  • You cannot pre-make or re-heat risotto. So time it such that you can serve it immediately.
 
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Posted by on September 27, 2009 in Italian, Main Courses, Recipe, Seafood

 

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