Inspired by a scene in my novel A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE, this was the risotto a hopeless, distraught, and disappointed Beatrice cooked to distract herself from her thoughts.
The recipe follows the technique for a classic saffron risotto – otherwise known as risotto Milanese. But, I added the sage leaves for a layer of herbal essence.
Tip: The key to making risotto is the stir. Only stir after each step of adding the liquids. Remember to keep the stir gentle and infrequent.
Substitutions: Carnaroli rice are large kernels and make a creamier, yet defined texture, and is robust enough to handle the stirs. If you cannot find carnaroli rice, arborio rice will work well. For vegetarians, you can swap the beef stock for vegetable stock.
Risotto Beatrice Quasi-Sbagliato
- 1 cup carnaroli rice
- 3 cups beef stock
- ½ onion, chopped
- 4-5 strands saffron
- 2-3 knobs butter
- 4-5 sage leaves, fresh
- olive oil
- 1 cups, scant Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- In a small bowl, pour hot water over saffron and let sit.
- In a small stock pot, heat up beef stock and set aside.
- In a casserole pan, toast the rice kernels just until slightly golden – this adds a nutty flavor to the dish. Then pour them into a metal bowl and set aside.
- In same pan, heat one small knob of butter and some oil.
- Sauté sage leaves whole and onions until onions are translucent. Remove sage leaves and set aside for garnish.
- Add rice and stir a bit just to coat the kernels with the oil/butter mixture.
- Add the first 2 ladles of stock. Stir once or twice, then let it cook down. As stock dries, add 2 more ladles, stir gently, and let cook.
- Add the saffron liquid and stir again – just once or twice, and very gently. Note: This is the moment Beatrice would let the saffron steam hit her face.
- After your steam facial, continue with two more ladles of stock. Again, always followed by a gentle stir.
- Once reached consistency, remove from heat.
- Add the cheese and stir gently, mixing well.
- Let risotto sit for 30 seconds to a 1 minute to settle.
- Plating: Spoon onto a flat dinner plate. Gently bang the plate on the counter to allow the risotto to spread. Garnish with a gentle partial-coating of the grated cheese and a fried saffron leaf. Serve immediately.