When thinking about risotto, the first thing that often comes to mind is traditional, Northern Italian cuisine. In the UK it can be seen as quite a ‘cheffy’ dish but this just isn’t so! Risotto is so commonly cooked in Italy and is considered an everyday dish.
To break this circle of misinformation I decided to pair this classic Italian recipe with traditional British ingredients that everybody should be familiar with, hoping that this will bring more people closer to creating risotto as part of their everyday cooking.
The charred and tangy flavor of the grilled leek and the full bodied flavour of the smoked haddock works incredibly well with the creaminess of risotto. For this recipe I chose the classic risotto rice called Carnaroli from the most famous Italian rice producers, Riso Gallo.
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 hour
Categories: Starter/Main course
- 280g Riso Gallo Carnaroli rice
- 2 large leeks
- 220g smoked haddock
- 40g grated Grana Padano cheese
- 30g onion (finely chopped)
- 40g unsalted butter
- 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
- 100ml dry white wine
- 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic cloves
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch of parsley as garnish
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Trim the leeks from the dirty stalks and outer leaves, cut them in halves length wise and rinse well under running water. Now heat up a pan (or a grill) and gently roast the leeks cut side down and cover with aluminum foil. The cooking time will vary depending on the the size of the veg but what you want to achieve is a nice brown caramelization on the surface of the leek until soft and bittersweet. Once cold chop the leeks and keep aside.
- Gently fry the chopped onion in a small casserole with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 10-15 minutes on low heat, until well golden and caramelised. Keep to one side.
- In a large casserole, start to roast the rice on a low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. In this way, the heat reaches the core of each rice grain resulting in more uniform al dente rice. Keep stirring the rice, so the rice does not catch on the bottom of the pan or burn. When the rice is very hot, pour the white wine in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 15 minutes and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Stir the rice occasionally, and keep cooking.
- Halfway through the cooking, add the caramelised onions to the rice.
- Once the time is almost up, break up the smoked haddock with your hands and add it to the risotto. Keep cooking for a couple of minutes and than add the cooked leeks. If you’re now happy with the texture remove it from the heat.
- The next step is called “mantecatura” – with the right movements you can make the risotto creamier and increase its natural ooziness. Add the grated cheese and butter to the rice and a few drops of lemon juice and zest. Stir with energy to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy. Season to taste.
- Plate the hot risotto straight away and garnish with finely chopped parsley.
Recipe by Danilo Cortellini
For more information and recipes from Riso Gallo click here
We met chef Danilo Cortellini in Milan, we were there with Danilo to discover Italian rice. Danilo is passionate about Italian cooking and very kindly agreed to let us have a few of his favourite Italian recipes for our readership to enjoy trying out.
Danilo is Head Chef at the Italian Embassy in London and was a finalist in MasterChef the Professionals in 2015.