Risotto Al Sagrantino for these cold days!

I thought that as it’s so chilly at the moment I’d share a lovely warming Umbrian risotto recipe with you!  Risotto to my mind is the ultimate comfort food!  Not just for a pasta course, any-time, and if you have enough of it, the only course you need!  So ignore the snow on the ground and the frost on the windows and treat yourselves to this fabulous risotto….

Risotto al Sagrantino
  •  450-500ml (16-18fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock, more if needed
  • 85g (3 oz) butter
  • 1 medium red onion , finely chopped
  • 200g (7oz) round grain risotto rice , such as arborio or carnaroli (my personal favorite)
  • 500ml  (18 fl oz) Sagrantino, warmed
  • Parmigiana or Grana Padano grated  to stir in and serve.
  1. Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep it on a very low simmer. Melt half the butter in a shallow saucepan or casserole, add the onion with salt (optional, usually the stock is pretty salty) and pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes until soft, but not browned. Stir in the rice of your choice and sauté it, stirring constantly, until it absorbs the butter, about 2 minute – the grains become translucent.
  2. Stir in about half the wine – it’ll sizzle in a very satisfying way!  Simmer, stirring, until the liquid is nearly all absorbed.  Add a ladle-full of hot stock and continue simmering, stirring gently but constantly. When the stock is nearly absorbed, add the remaining wine.
  3. Continue stirring all the time and adding more stock as the last liquids absorb, the stirring breaks down the starches making it beautifully creamy. At the end of cooking, the rice should be tender, still slightly al dente (chewy). This will take 25 to 40 minutes and don’t hesitate to use plenty of stock.
  4. Take the risotto from the heat, add the remaining butter in pieces, and stir it into the rice as it melts. Add a handful of grated cheese, stir through, taste and check seasoning. Serve the risotto in warmed shallow bowls or on deep plates with another generous sprinkling of parmigiana or grana padana. It is best served at once with the rest of the Sagrantino, of course!
If you want a more substantial risotto, I love it with a couple of cooked, finely crumbled up Italian sausages from the local butchers – the butchers are very proud of their homemade sausages, and they’re a taste experience a universe away from even the very best that the UK can offer – add at the beginning stages after the first dollop of wine has all but evaporated.

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