It is hard enough to cook rice, let alone perfect a one-pot wonder like a risotto.
The dish often has a reputation for being one of the harder-to-master Italian dishes. Overcook or over stir the creamy, starchy dish and it will quickly end in tears.
All you really need is timing and patience, suggests Shanon Peters (29), head chef of trendy Sotto Sopra in Johannesburg’s Rosebank.
Peters pairs his saffron risotto with a melt-off-the bone osso buco (veal stew).
For saffron risotto
2 onions, finely chopped
2 chopped tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 thyme sprigs
200ml olive oil
300ml white wine
2 cans napolitana sauce
20g sundried tomatoes
1l cups chicken stock
500g risotto rice
70g chopped parsley
- In a large flat-base saucepan add butter, olive oil, onion, garlic and thyme and sauté slowly until ingredients are translucent.
- Deglaze pan (make a sauce) by adding white wine.
- Add risotto rice and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and saffron, cover with 700ml chicken stock and turn heat down.
- Allow to cook until liquid has evaporated (the rice must be undercooked and be yellow in colour).
- Add a ladle of chicken stock until rice is fully cooked. Add sundried tomato, white wine and napolitana sauce.
- Thicken with grated parmesan, butter, and fresh chopped parsley.
For osso buco
5Kg veal shanks
4 large onion
4 cloves garlic
½ cup beef stock granules mixed with 2l water
1 tin whole peeled tomato
4 bay leaves
Salt & pepper
1 glass red wine
- Dust the veal shanks lightly with flour. Melt the butter and oil in a large black pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the veal and cook until dark brown on the outside.
- Remove from the pan and place in a deep bain-marie dish.
- In the same pan add cloves of crushed garlic, onion, and carrot, sauté for 5 minutes and deglaze with red wine. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour the tomatoes, beef stock and veg over the veal.
- Double wrap with aluminium foil and cook in oven for 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove the veal and blend all ingredients in the bain-marie dish to create a sauce