Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Champagne Risotto

This may seem rather extravagant, but it makes a really beautifully flavored risotto, perfect for that special anniversary Italian dinner. Recipe serves 3-4.


2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups risotto rice, preferably Carnaroli
1/2 bottle or 1 1/4 cups champagne
3 cups simmering light vegetable or chicken stock
2/3 cup double (thickened) cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons very finely chopped fresh chervil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Black truffle shavings, to garnish (optional)


1. Melt the butter in a pan and fry the shallots for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring all the time, until the grains are evenly coated in butter and are beginning to look translucent around the edges.
2. Pour in about two-thirds of the champagne and cook over a high heat so that the liquid bubbles fiercely. Cook, stirring, until all the liquid has been absorbed before beginning to add the hot stock.
3. Add the stock, a ladle at a time, making sure that each addition has been completely absorbed before adding the next. The risotto should gradually become creamy and velvety and all the stock should be absorbed.
4. When the rice is tender but retains a bit of "bite", stir in the remaining champagne and the double cream and Parmesan cheese. Adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for a few minutes. Stir in the chervil. If you want to gild the lily, garnish with a few truffle shavings.

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