Recipe of the Month -
Risotto al Barbera
Some poor souls feel the need, at this time of year, to embark
on a regime of austerity and self-flagellation, even going so far
as to undergo a programme of de-tox, or, worse still, to forgo
all wine and other strong drink. I most emphatically do not advise
this! For now, in the coldest, bleakest month of the year, when
we’re all broke after Christmas and summer seems a lightyear
away, this is the time when we need more than ever to pamper ourselves
with warming foods and wines. This simple risotto al Barbera is
just such a comforting dish, and absolutely fabulous accompanied
by a glass (or two or three) of Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba.
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled, crushed and finely chopped
Good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
300 g arborio or carnaroli rice
2 glasses Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba (or other full Italian
1.5 l rich, preferably homemade chicken stock (or use a good stock
Generous knob of Devon butter
Freshly ground parmigiano reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil with a little butter in a large saucepan,
and gently sauté the chopped onion and garlic until soft.
Add the rice, stir well to coat with the oil, and continue to toast
for a few minutes, until the grains of rice are hot to the touch.
Add the Barbera and allow to simmer and evaporate. Then add, a ladle
or two at a time, the boiling hot chicken stock, stirring frequently,
while the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue to add the stock in
this manner until the rice is just al dente (about 18-20
minutes). Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add a generous knob of butter and a couple of heaping spoonfuls
of freshly ground parmigiano reggiano, beating it in to the risotto
with a wooden spoon.
Serve immediately as a first course, accompanied
by Mario Fontana’s
exquisite Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2005, a wine that
will definitely banish the January blues.
This recipe will be on the menu at The Globe,
Topsham as a ‘Special’ throughout
January together with Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2005.