26 March 2009

Any leftover champagne in the fridge?

It’s not often that Chefette has an unfinished bottle of champagne in the refrigerator (usually any opened bottle gets polished off with help from the Husband). But it just so happened today that she was improvising a risotto and decided to throw in the dregs of an opened bottle, which still had a bit of fizz. The addition of any acidic white wine to a risotto after toasting the grains of rice gives an extra hit of freshness, and balances the richness imparted by the butter and parmesan, and champagne definitely fits the bill. A simply delicious taste of spring.

Champagne and spring vegetable risotto
1T olive oil
1T unsalted butter
3 small Bermuda onions with green stalks (or two small regular Spanish onions)
1 carrot
2 small ribs of celery
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
200ml of champagne or prosecco
1 litre of hot homemade chicken stock (or substitute vegetable)
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Chop the onions, carrot and celery into small, even dice. Sweat the vegetables slowly in the olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the unsalted butter, and raise the heat to medium-high. Toast the rice with the vegetables for a good 3-5 minutes, then add the champagne and allow it to boil down until the liquid is reduced.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the hot chicken stock one ladle at a time, stirring regularly so the risotto gradually becomes creamy. Allow each ladle of stock to be fully absorbed before adding the next one. After about 15-17 minutes, add the fresh or frozen peas.

A couple of minutes later, the rice should be fully cooked and creamy, but still ‘al dente’ in the centre. The only way to know when to stop the cooking is to taste a few grains. Once the desired doneness is reached, turn off the heat, add the freshly grated parmesan, and season to taste. If the risotto is too thick, add a teeny bit more of the hot stock to loosen it.

Serve at once.

1 comment:

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