May 29, 2009


Chef Gianni Scappin at the Woodstock Farm Festival
Photo by Cheryl Paff
The word risotto refers to rice that has been toasted briefly in a soffritto and then cooked by gradually adding boiling broth or water and mantecato (adding butter and Parmigiano). Remember that rice suitable for risotto absorbs a quantity of liquid three times the weight of the rice itself. To cook risotto it is preferable to use a medium-height, heavy saucepan with a rather large bottom so that the flame can spread underneath.

1 medium onion finely chopped
4 oz. butter
4 oz white wine, dry
12 oz. long-grain rice
1 lb asparagus, cut on a bias, reserving tips.
1 ½ qts. broth chicken or beef
6 tbs. Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, grated
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Sweat the onion in 1 oz. of the butter.
2. When the onion loses its crunchiness (do not let it brown) add the rice and toast gently over a medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the rice absorbs the fat and becomes flavored.
3. Add the asparagus (if necessary peel them, set the tips aside)
4. Add wine, let it slightly evaporate, and then pour a ladle of boiling broth into the pot.
5. Continue to stir - but not too frequently - and gradually add more broth as the rice absorbs the liquids. It is important to keep the rice simmering constantly, so dose the amount of broth wisely as you add it to the rice. When the rice is cooked al dente (about 12-14 minutes), add the asparagus tips and turn off the heat.
6. Add parsley, butter, grated Parmigiano and stir vigorously, let stand, covered, for a couple of minutes, so that the rice finishes cooking.
7. Serve immediately.
Note 1: Risotto should not be too dry but lightly creamy, and each grain of rice should be fluffy. The broth used for risotto should always be rather light and clear, most often made from chicken or veal. The ratio of broth to rice for risotto is 1 part rice to 3 parts broth, more broth or hot water for boiled rice. For risotto use only imported fine Italian rice (Superfino Carnaroli widely available in any grocery store), since it is less rich in starch and therefore more suitable for this preparation.

Serve 4
This recipe comes to us from Chef Gianni Scappin. Gianni is an instructor at the Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park as well as the owner of Cucina in Woodstock.

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