A few weeks ago I was in a Florentine apartment, learning how to cook Italian meals. On the menu was risotto, one of my all-time favourite meals. It was a dream learning how to cook it from a bona fide Toscana. One step I had never learned about before was the resting period, when the risotto is just al dente, and additional butter and cheese is added. Additional butter and cheese is always a good thing.
I’ve always held the belief that risotto is the perfect date meal to make. It’s a little bit fancy, but really hard to mess up. It smells amazing. It keeps your hand busy. And it’s an excuse to open up a bottle of wine.
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup wine or vermouth (optional)
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef broth (feel free to use vegetable or chicken broth)
1 duck egg per serving
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1. In a large pot, heat the oil and cook the arborio rice until it becomes translucent.
2. In a separate pot, heat the broth.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the oil, and cook until the onions begin to soften.
4. At this point add the wine or vermouth, if using. Cook, stirring, until absorbed.
5. Slowly add a spoonful of the warmed broth to the rice mixture. It should sizzle. Stir until the broth is absorbed.
6. Continue slowly adding the broth a spoonful at a time. Wait until the broth has been incorporated by the rice before adding the next spoonful.
7. Continue this process until the risotto still has a bit of bite to it.
8. Once almost cooked, remove the risotto from the heat. Add the butter and parmesan, and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
9. About 10 minutes in to this resting time, poach the duck eggs. I used this technique, and served them soft-poached. What’s the point of poaching if you’re not going to have runny yolk?