Winter is a hard time, specially in cold and gloomy places like northern Europe.
For Italians grown up in Southern Italy it is one of the hardest time of the year. Luckily good food is always at our disposal and will come to rescue us, of course with a little effort.
One of the vegetables that expresses winter vibes in Italy is Radicchio, a violet cabbage, lightly bitter, typical of Norther Italy, specially Veneto (the region hosting Venezia). The natural companion of Radicchio are rice and sausage and a risotto is the natural consequence of the meeting of such ingredients.
Here is how to prepare a perfect risotto, making the best out of these jewels.
Ingredients for 2 persons:
- 160gr of rice
- Half head of Radicchio (190gr)
- 2 Italian sausages
- 50+10gr of butter (this 10gr of butter is for the final touch)
- 3 shallots
- 30gr of grated parmesan
- A glass of white wine
- Carrot, Onion and Celery of the soup
- Salt and pepper
The very first thing to do when preparing a risotto is to do the soup that we will use to cook the rice. In a pot with cold water simply put carrots, onion and celery and let it boil until you will have to use it (it will take about 30 minutes).
In the meantime let the butter melt in a large pan and cut the shallots in very small pieces. Add the shallots to the butter and with medium fire let it gently fry. After a couple of minutes put a lid over the pan, so that the humidity will actually stew the shallot, keeping it soft.
Prepare the Radicchio cutting the head in half and then in small stripes. Cut also the sausages in small disks.
Add the rice to the pan and let it toast until the grains will become transparent. Then add the sausage, let it cook for a minute and then add the wine. Put the fire to high, so that the alcohol will evaporate, leaving only the taste of the wine.
Set the fire back to medium and add the Radicchio. Keep steering the rice throughout the all process, to assure a homogenous cooking. At first the Radicchio will seem a lot, but you will notice that it will quickly loose water and reduce its size.
Now you can start pouring the soup into the rice, two spoonful per time. Always steer the rice and add the soup once it becomes too dry. From the first spoonful of soup, the process should take around 20 minutes. Nevertheless, after 15 minutes taste the rice to make sure that the cooking is correct.
Once the rice is cooked according to your taste (in Italy people keep it quite crunchy, or “al dente”) take it away from the fire and add additional butter and the parmesan. Steer until the butter has been completely absorbed and add salt and pepper.
At this point put the lead on the pan and let the rice rest for 5 minute. This is the moment when the risotto becomes creamy and the rice releases the starch.
Put it on a large plate or a bowl and…