Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trout and Parma Ham Risotto Rolls

This makes a delicious and elegant Italian meal. The risotto - made with porcini mushrooms and prawns - is a fine match for the robust flavor of the trout rolls. Recipe serves 4.


4 trout fillets, skinned
4 slices Parma ham
Caper berries, to garnish
For the Risotto:
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 large raw prawns, peeled and the vein removed
1 medium onion, chopped
Generous 1 cup risotto rice
About 7 tablespoons white wine
About 3 cups simmering fish or chicken stock
2 tablespoons dried porcini or chanterelle mushrooms, soaked for 10 minutes in warm water to cover
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. First make the risotto. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or deep frying pan and fry the prawns very briefly until flecked with pink. Lift out on a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.
2. Add the chopped onion to the oil remaining in the pan and fry over a gentle heat for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the rice and stir for 3-4 minutes until the grains are evenly coated in oil. Add 5 tablespoons of the wine and then the stock, a little at a time, stirring over a gentle heat and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more.
3. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and cut the larger ones in half. Towards the end of cooking, stir the mushrooms into the risotto with 1 tablespoon of the reserved mushroom liquid. If the rice is not yet al dente, add a little more stock or mushroom liquid and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the prawns. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
5. Take a trout fillet, place a spoonful of risotto at one end and roll up. Wrap each fillet in a slice of Parma ham and place in a greased ovenproof dish.
6. Spoon any remaining risotto around the fish fillets and sprinkle over the rest of the wine. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes until the fish is tender. Spoon the risotto on to a platter, top with the trout rolls and garnish with caper berries. Serve at once.

Tip: There are no hard and fast rules about which type of risotto to use for this dish. Almost any risotto recipe could be used, although a vegetable or seafood risotto would be particularly suitable.

Rabbit and Lemon Grass Risotto

The lemon grass adds a pleasant tang to this Italian risotto. If rabbit isn't available, use chicken or turkey instead. Recipe serves 3-4.


8 ounces (250 g) rabbit meat, cut into strips
Seasoned flour
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 lemon grass stalk, peeled and very finely sliced
1 1/2 cups risotto rice, preferably Carnaroli
4 cups simmering chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons double (thickened) cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Coat the rabbit strips in the seasoned flour. Heat half the butter and olive oil in a frying pan and fry the rabbit quickly until evenly brown. Add the sherry, and allow to boil briefly to burn off the alcohol. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a large saucepan. Fry the onion and garlic over a low heat for 4-5 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the sliced lemon grass and cook for a few more minutes.
3. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Add a large spoonful of stock and cook, stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock gradually, stirring constantly. When the rice is almost cooked, stir in three-quarters of the rabbit strips, with the pan juices. Add the thyme and seasoning.
4. Continue cooking until the rice is tender but still has a "bite". Stir in the cream and Parmesan cheese, remove from the heat and cover. Leave to rest before serving, garnished with rabbit strips.

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.