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Not the last Risott(o)

3 Apr

Risotto al Nero di Seppia

Risotto Milanese with Chicken and Prosciutto

Rummaging through our larder a couple of weeks back we found 4 packets of pre-seasoned risotto from Florence – 2 Risotto Milanese (Saffron) and 2 Risotto al Nero di Seppia (Squid Ink) – more than enough to feed a family of 5! Followed the recipes I found for Risotto al Nero di Seppia with Calamari from Honestfood (and added my own scallops) and the recipe for Risotto Milanese from Frugal Flambe.

R and I had both risottos in Italy when we were there in 2010, and the burst of flavour from the seemingly plain and boring Risotto Milanese really surprised me! The original Risotto Milanese is just risotto, saffron and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (in lay man terms – Parmesan cheese, but Parmigiano-Reggiano can only be named as such when it comes from that particular italian region – according to Italian law.) that’s it. And it was really the best risotto I’ve ever had. Check out what risottos we had in Italy here, no picture of the Risotto Milanese unfortunately, but nonetheless there was a risotto at almost every meal. 🙂

Back to the risottos I made (just last weekend actually!) – there’s always a sense of trepidation (in my gut and in my biceps) before I embark on making Risotto because I always think it won’t go right! But this 2nd time making Risotto, I think I can say quite confidently that I won’t shudder (in my gut) the next time I make it – cos practice makes perfect! *Confidence Badge Acquired! Flexes bicep*RAWR*

So while my biceps recover from all the stirring, I’ve decided to let my fingers have a lil workout in blogging (haven’t posted since December – yikes! Good news is our lil bun is no longer lil (relatively speaking) and has been out of the oven for 6 months now! This is a bun that continues to “rise” even after being removed from the oven).

Here are the recipes and my adaptations (short-cuts):

Risotto al Nero di Seppia with Calamari and Scallops
(adapted from HonestFood)

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
250g squid (gutted, skinned and cut into rings – soak in milk overnight, although I only did it for 30 mins :P)
1 cup milk
3 garlic cloves (minced) – I didn’t use this ‘cos we’re allergic to garlic 😦
1 ½ cups risotto rice
¼ cup white wine
500ml chicken stock (you can use beef or fish)
500ml water
1 packet squid ink (about 4 grams)
Salt and black pepper (to taste)
2 tbsp lemon zest
A knob of butter
Some lemon juice

Equipment
2 large heavy pots (1 for stock, 1 for cooking risotto)
1 soup ladle
1 wooden spatula
Biceps, Pectorals and Deltoids 🙂

Method

1. Pour the chicken stock and water¹ into a pot and bring it to a simmer.
2. Drop in the calamari rings and let them cook for 30 seconds – turning opaque white, then set aside in a bowl.
3. In the other pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat and saute the garlic for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to ensure rice is evenly coated.
4. Cook the rice for about 2-3 minutes, making sure to stir often.
5. Add the white wine and stir. Cook until almost all the wine has been absorbed/ evaporated.
6. Now the fun starts – Add about a ladle of the simmering stock, stir and stir and stir until almost all the stock is absorbed then add the next ladleful. Repeat until the stock is used up, tapering off the quantity of stock towards the end.² The whole process will take about 20 – 30 minutes (hence the need for biceps pecs and deltoids a.k.a shoulder muscles, even if you don’t have muscles, after this you will!)
7. When the rice is cooked, add the squid ink and salt to taste.³
8. Add the squid, stir through and cook for 1 minute.
9. Remove the pot from heat and mix in half the lemon zest.
10. Stir the knob of butter through the rice (this gives it a nice glistening sheen).
11. To serve, sprinkle with lemon zest and give a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.

Notes

¹ The original recipe called for about 1 litre of broth, however I found the finished product too salty for my liking – perhaps it was the brand of stock I used, (and over salted food is very hard to reverse so better to add your own salt if you don’t find it salty enough) so I’ve modified the recipe to have half stock and half water. The squid ink from the risotto is going to provide some richness of flavour anyways.

²It is important to add stock bit by bit, stir constantly and let the liquid almost cook away before adding more. Risotto is one of those one pot dishes that requires ALL of your ATTENTION ALL of the TIME, don’t even think about taking your eye away from it for one second (ok one second is fine), it just needs TLC. And this TLC of stirring and adding the water slowly is because the rice kernels need time to absorb (the shock) of the stock, its little grain of a body can’t take in all that liquid all a once so it needs time and needs your patience! (somehow this seems to parallel a day with my 6 mth old!) And it’s important that the stock is simmering i.e. kept hot because if you use cold stock, the rice go into shock *freeze* and cannot accept the stock and you end up having rice that doesn’t cook through (still raw inside). So take heed and just do as the baby, i mean, risotto says 🙂 More tips on risotto cooking can be found here.

³ I didn’t actually add in the squid ink for this particular pot of risotto I made, because the risotto we got from Italy already came coated in squid ink (the rice was completely black!) but I’m not sure where else I can obtain such risotto in Singapore. I’ve seen squid ink pastas from Da Paolo Gastronomia but not risotto. If you do know of any place that does hawk squid ink risotto let me know!)

Where to Buy
Squid InkCulina at Dempsey Road and Delicia – an online gourmet store.
RisottoCold Storage and Delicia. And I’m sure it’s available in other premium supermarkets and stores like Culina.
All other ingredients can be purchased at your regular supermarket.

Print the Recipe!

Risotto Milanese with Chicken and Prosciutto
(adapted from FrugalFlambe)

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cubed) – I cheated and got the ready roasted honey-baked chicken from Cold Storage 🙂
100g prosciutto (sliced thinly, or in my case, torn to little shreds)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
4 brown mushrooms (finely chopped, optional – had this in the fridge so decided to use it :P)
1 ½ cups risotto rice
½ cup dry white wine
1 litre chicken stock
¼ tsp saffron threads
A knob of butter
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Equipment
2 large heavy pots (1 for stock, 1 for cooking risotto)
1 soup ladle
1 wooden spatula
Biceps, Pectorals and Deltoids 🙂

Method

1. Pour the chicken stock and water into a pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the saffron once it simmers.¹
2. Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil in the other pot.
3. Add the onions and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
4. Add the rice and stir to ensure it is evenly coated. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the white wine and stir. Cook until almost all the wine has been absorbed/ evaporated.
6. Now the fun starts – Add about a ladle of the simmering stock, stir and stir and stir until almost all the stock is absorbed then add the next ladleful. Repeat until the stock is used up, tapering off the quantity of stock towards the end.² The whole process will take about 20 – 30 minutes (hence the need for biceps pecs and deltoids a.k.a shoulder muscles, even if you don’t have muscles, after this you will!)
7. Before adding the last few ladlefuls, or when the rice is ¾ cooked, add ½ the prosciutto and (cooked) chicken (and mushrooms if using) and continue cooking until the rice is just tender and the risotto creamy.
8. Stir the knob of butter and grated parmesan through the rice.
9. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Top rice with remaining prosciutto and serve.

Notes

¹ Again, like the squid ink risotto, I didn’t actually add in the saffron for this risotto I made, ‘cos the risotto already came coated in saffron all nice and canary yellow 🙂 definitely not seen saffron coated rice in Singapore yet. If you have let me know! Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice going for US$1,000 – $11,000 per kg depending on the grade, read all about saffron here.

²It is important to add stock bit by bit, stir constantly and let the liquid almost cook away before adding more. Risotto is one of those one pot dishes that requires ALL of your ATTENTION ALL of the TIME, don’t even think about taking your eye away from it for one second (ok one second is fine), it just needs TLC. And this TLC of stirring and adding the water slowly is because the rice kernels need time to absorb (the shock) of the stock, its little grain of a body can’t take in all that liquid all a once so it needs time and needs your patience! (somehow this seems to parallel a day with my 6 mth old!) And it’s important that the stock is simmering i.e. kept hot because if you use cold stock, the rice go into shock *freeze* and cannot accept the stock and you end up having rice that doesn’t cook through (still raw inside). So take heed and just do as the baby, i mean, risotto says 🙂 More tips on risotto cooking can be found here.

Where to Buy
Saffron Culina at Dempsey Road and Cold Storage.
Risotto Cold Storage, Delicia and other premium supermarkets and stores like Culina.
All other ingredients can be purchased at your regular supermarket.
wow! cooking 2 risottos at once was without a doubt a challenge given my trepidation, but it was also great fun! I suppose with all things that you sometimes dread/fear (motherhood included) you just have to dive in and GET IT DONE! Till the next window I have for cooking/ baking, take care! 🙂

Print the Recipe!

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5 Responses to “Not the last Risott(o)”

  1. margagogo April 25, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    What a great blog! I especially like the “bite me” request for followers. And now I want to go eat risotto.

    • char May 21, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

      thanks margagogo! 🙂

  2. liannelow May 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Love risotto and squid ink risotto is one of my fav! (: Actually squid ink anything! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • char May 21, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

      hey lianne – totally agree man! squid ink anything rocks! 🙂

  3. priscilaines July 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    hm! i love risoto, this recipe looks delicious, i can´t wait to try
    The best recipe ever

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