May 14, 2020

Risotto Milanese on today’s Menu

Capsicum Culinary Studio – South Africa’s largest chef school – has tasked its chef lecturers to come up with some delicious dishes, perfect for the whole family to enjoy during the current lockdown.

Eoin Shiell from Pretoria East – who is currently Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Chef Lecturer of the Year – shares his recipe for a creamy and luscious risotto Milanese. And he’s given tips to change it to use ingredients you may have at hand as well as making a vegan option.

Risotto Milanese
Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes

¼ onion finely diced
1 cup Arborio/Risotto rice
1 cup dry white wine (if you’ve run out of wine just up the stock intake)
1,2 L fresh liquid stock of choice (beef, chicken, seafood, mushroom depending on type of risotto being made)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic crushed or finely chopped
Salt to taste
Crushed black pepper to taste
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
Pinch saffron (optional)
Fresh chopped parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons Mascarpone/cream cheese (can use vegan cheese)
½ cup grated or shaved parmesan (can use a vegan alternative or leave out altogether)
1 tablespoon butter (can use vegan butter/margarine)

In a medium-sized pot or large non-stick pan sweat off your onions in the olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
Once the onions have started to go translucent add the rice, garlic and thyme and sweat off for 1-2 minutes.

Deglaze with the white wine and stir through.
Add your stock 1-2 ladles at a time, just enough liquid that it covers the surface area of the rice. Simmer over a low heat stirring constantly.
Season lightly and repeat the above process until the rice is al dente (cooked but has a slight firmness to it) and the risotto has a naturally creamy, rich consistency very similar to oats.

If you shake the pot the risotto should create a wave-like effect in the pan.
Remember if you can mould risotto it is either over or undercooked.
The risotto will take about 20 minutes to cook. You can add the saffron at about the halfway point. Make sure to constantly stir and add stock when required.

Check the seasoning.
Remove from the heat and fold in the butter, mascarpone and half the amount of parmesan off the heat, making sure to stir in well.
Remove the sticks of thyme and fold in the soft herbs.
Use the rest of the parmesan to garnish.
The risotto can be served as a dish on its own with other flavours or elements or part of a dish.

This is a basic recipe, you can add other flavours, purees and ingredients to the risotto to get different flavours, colours and textures. Instead of using risotto rice you can substitute with pearl barley; cooking it the exact same way as a traditional risotto.
You could use butternut, beetroot, black garlic or pea puree, a variety of mushrooms and truffles, beef ragu, chicken, seafood, a variety of vegetables or cheeses