30 March 2010
I've been engrossed in Giorgio Locatelli's 'Made in Italy' of late, inspiring me to make this Italian staple. Although I did only use the book as a guide, and took notes from all over the internet.
I floured some great little veal shanks and browned them off in a scorching pan. Then in the same pan browned some onions. Next I deglazed with white wine, and then stock, all going into a casserole for a 2-3 hour braise. How easy was that?
The risotto...a classic plain risotto with the cheeky addition of the all important saffron threads. Finely, finely, finely chopped onions softened in butter. Next toasting some Carnaroli rice into it, and then white wine reduced to nothing. Fortunately I had enormous vats of top quality homemade chicken stock at hand, having taken home a close to body-bag quantity of carcasses from my butcher. Nevertheless such brash attitudes to how much I had up my sleeve has led to rash usage, and I'm sadly nearly dried out. Another weekend of edge of your seat stock making action awaits...
I digress - from here its the good old ladle full at a time technique, whilst also throwing in a good pinch of the saffron. This takes about 16 minutes. Rest, then the mantecatura - nice dollops of cold butter beaten in, hard. Then likewise with Parmesan. And if I don't mind saying so myself (I feel confident in saying this as I know this is THE proper way to make it), it was a perfect Risotto Milanese.
So that's it - the risotto, with a wobbling shank on top, and finally finished with a simple gremolata (parsley, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil).
I will be so bold as to say, that even if this wasn't intimidatingly technical cooking, it was the tastiest thing I've cooked in quite a long while. The photo is good, but it doesn't do it full justice. One of the real highlights is the little hula hoop of bone filled with oozy marrow, something hidden under the gremolata. Its a meal with so many component flavours and textures, all coming together and offering different pleasures - and most of all, just very moreish food. I can see myself cooking this again and again, it really isn't even very taxing.