Venetian Celery Risotto
Author: 
Recipe type: Risotto
Cuisine: Italian
 
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 50 g (a little less than half a stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small shallots (weighting about 60g / 2.5 oz.), finely chopped
  • The heart of a white or green celery, with its leaves (use about ¼ packed cup leaves), finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 320g Risotto rice, preferably ‘Carnaroli' or 'Vialone nano’ varieties
  • ¼ cup Marsala wine or white wine
  • 1 lt / 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt
  • 60g / 2.5 oz grated Parmigiano or Grana cheese, or more to taste
FOR SERVING
  • A touch of grated lemon zest
  • Chopped parsley
  • A good tablespoonful of baccalá mantecato or cod brandade
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter and oil in a pot, preferably a sautéuse or a pot with a handle and tall edges.
  2. Add the shallots and stir-fry for a couple minutes, until they turn translucent.
  3. Add the celery and sauté for couple minutes, stirring every now and then.
  4. Add the tomato paste and melt it in the fat. Stir it for a minute or so, until the tomato usefully blended into the mix. You can use as little tomato paste or as much as you like: I used very little, as I wanted my risotto more on the white side, but adding a full tablespoon makes for a very tasty risotto.
  5. Add the rice, and stir it around for a minute to toast and release the starch. Add the marsala or wine and let it evaporate. If you do not have any wine, feel free to skip this step.
  6. Start adding the stock: add one cup first, and wait for it to be fully absorbed before adding the next. The liquid should simmer slowly, on a medium-low fire. To stir the risotto, swirl the pot rather than mixing with a spoon, so the risotto will have the best consistency. Only use a wooden spoon every now and then to check the bottom and make sure it doesn’t stick. Add salt to taste - use about ½ teaspoon.
  7. The rice should be left slightly ‘al dente’, but it should not be tough. A regular white rice will take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. Once of the stock has been absorbed and the rice cooked, you should be left with a creamy risotto that is slightly on the soupy side. If you’d like it more soupy, add half a cup more stock.
  8. Stir in the cheese to finish the risotto. Check for salt, and adjust to taste. If you like, you can finish with a touch more oil or butter.
  9. This super simple risotto can be finished in a variety of ways. Stir in lemon zest and/or parsley, which complement the buttery, cheesy flavor perfectly with their hint of freshness. Or, try my favorite way to finish this risotto and make it even more Venetian: add baccalá mantecato, or cod brandade, whichever you can find or make the easiest.
Recipe by Hortus Natural Cooking by Valentina Solfrini at http://hortuscuisine.com/blog/2016/12/12/venetian-celery-risotto-freaky-raku-giveaway/