Il riso nasce nell’acqua e muore nel vino.
(Rice is born in water and must die in wine.)
I love this delicate, sophisticated and yet simple risotto recipe. I like to dust this creamy delight with white truffle shavings, whenever season (and wallet) allows.
"Mantecato" means buttery, and this risotto certainly will be; it’s a celebration-day dish and will be just the thing for a very special occasion. Yields 4 plentiful servings.
500 g (2 1/2 cups or 6 large fistfuls*) Carnaroli or Arborio rice
100 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 small scallions, very finely minced
1 glass dry white wine
100 g (1/2 cup) fontina cheese, finely sliced or diced
200 g (2 cups) freshly grated Parmigiano
1 liter (1 quart) simmering beef broth
50 g (1/4 cup) fresh white truffles (optional, brushed clean)
Sauté the scallion in half the butter until it begins to turn golden, then add the wine and cook over a low heat, until translucent and the wine has fully evaporated.
Add the rice, mix well, and then begin adding broth, a ladle at a time as it absorbs while cooking the grains, stirring gently all the while.
When the rice has almost completely reached the al dente stage, reduce the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the cheeses, cooking a minute or two more.
Shave half the truffles into the risotto using a truffle slicer and dot the surface with a few flecks of butter. Let the risotto rest covered for a minute, then stir briefly, transfer it to a fine bone china serving bowl, and shave the remaining truffles over it with a dramatic gesture to impress guests.
Image © Micol
* Empirical Formula | When cooking risotto, my grandmother would never weigh or measure the amount of rice needed with a scale or a cup. Her measurement was her fist capacity. One large, overflowing fistful per person plus one extra, was her rule. This purely experiential method worked for her then as it does for me today, and you may want to apply it yourself. In my risotto recipes I will however always include the standard cup equivalent as well. The usual average amount to cook per person is between 50 gr and 100 gr (1/4 to 1/2 cup), depending on how rich the other ingredients are, and guest appetite. But I sincerely trust Nonna's fail-safe system more.