The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Project Jamie: risotto con cipolle bianche dolci, cotechino, e timo

That was a mouthful! In English, that means risotto of sweet onions, cotechino sausage, and thyme. To launch Project Steffi x Jamie x Miki, I started with my favorite Italian rice dish ever: risotto.

I was pleasantly surprised that making risotto was pretty easy. The ingredients were not complicated and I already had most of them in the fridge.

Jamie Oliver has a basic risotto recipe, risotto bianco, which is his base for all types of risotto in his book. I can’t go on and on since this dish speaks for itself. And all I can say is C and I enjoyed every bite.

risotto bianco
white risotto

from Jamie’s Italy, page 130 / Jamie’s website
serves 6

approx 1.1 litres/2 pints stock (chicken, fish or vegetable as appropriate)
1 dollop of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ a head of celery, finely chopped
400g/14oz/2 cups risotto rice
2 wine glasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
70g/2.5oz/5tbsp butter
115 g/4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

stage 1

Heat the stock. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

stage 2

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

stage 3

Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

stage 4

Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.

[print recipe]

***

risotto con cipolle bianche dolci, cotechino, e timo
risotto of sweet onions, cotechino sausage, and thyme 

from Jamie’s Italy, page 148 / Jamie’s website
serves 6

500g/1lb cotechino sausage
3 white onions
1 risotto bianco (see above recipe)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
Parmesan cheese, for grating

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Place the cotechino on a small roasting tray with the unpeeled onions and pop into the preheated oven. Bake for about an hour until the onions are soft and sweet and the sausage is cooked. Remove everything from the oven and turn it down to 150ºC/300ºF/gas 2.

Start the risotto as usual and continue through the recipe, adding the stock little by little. While doing this, you’ll have plenty of time to peel the cooled onions. Cut one of them into quarters, put them in a dish and keep them warm in the oven. Finely chop the other 2 onions, peel the thick fatty skin off the sausage and discard it. Crumble up the sausage meat inside. When the rice is three-quarters cooked, at Stage 3, stir in the chopped baked onions and the crumbled sausage, and continue cooking the risotto until the rice is perfectly cooked.

At Stage 4, when you add the butter and Parmesan, taste, season carefully to perfection, and fold in the chopped thyme leaves. Divide between your plates, break up one of the onion quarters over each, and serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

[print recipe]

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