Ingredients (serves four)
4tbs unsalted butter
1 cup diced onions
1tbs diced shallots
2 cups carnaroli or arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
7 cups vegetable broth
24-36 saffron threads
Freshly ground black or white pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
4 gold leaves
Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and shallots. Sweat, stirring frequently, until translucent (about four minutes). Add rice. Stir constantly until rice is thoroughly coated (about two minutes). Add wine, stir again until partly evaporated (about one-and-a-half to two minutes).
Meanwhile, heat the broth to just below boiling point and maintain temperature on a low heat. Measure out one-third to one-half of broth into another saucepan and add the saffron.
Simmer until the saffron threads have dissolved, again maintaining the temperature on a low heat. Stirring the rice constantly, add to the rice mixture one cup of plain or saffron broth alternately, ensuring all stock has been absorbed before adding the next cupful.
The risotto will be ready when rice is "al dente" and mixture starts to pull away from sides of the pan (about 18 minutes). Remove from heat, season with pepper and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano cheese.
To serve, spoon each portion of risotto on to a plate and garnish with a gold leaf.
Wine selection: Franciacorta Bianco "Chardonnay" 1994 - Ca' del Bosco
by Gualtiero Marchesi
Photo © Tom Stockhill