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Chef Walter’s Flavors & Knowledge: Risotto with White Truffles

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

 

As decadent as food gets, this risotto showcases the complex flavors of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and incredible earthy white Alba truffles (some of the finest truffles in the world). In this recipe I combine the truffles with the king of all rices Carnaroli, a variety chosen by most sophisticated chefs and connoisseurs. If you cannot find white truffles for this dish…..there are no substitutes for it!

 Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 shallots chopped fine

2 cups Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

6 to 7 cups chicken stock or vegetable

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

4 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 ½ ounces fresh white truffle

Preparation

Melt two tablespoons butter in a heavy frying pan over low heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about five minutes.

Pour in the rice and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until all the rice is coated with the butter. Let it cook for three to four minutes, stirring frequently so that it absorbs the butter and turns opaque.

Add the wine, and cook till evaporated, then the chicken stock, a cup at a time, and cook the rice over medium heat, stirring constantly as the stock is absorbed by the rice. When the rice is almost tender, after about 15 minutes, add the garlic. Cook until the rice is al dente, about five to eight minutes more.

Adjust the flavors to taste with salt and pepper. Let the rice sit off heat for two to three minutes. Stir in the remaining butter. Do not return to heat or the butter will melt without binding. Sprinkle the Parmigiano Reggiano and fold in. With a truffle cutter or sharp knife, shave off pieces of truffle and sprinkle them on the rice.

About Fresh Truffles:

Grown underground and hunted only by the help of pigs and dogs, these rare and luxurious tubers are one of the most sought after ingredients by top chefs. They have been called the diamond of the kitchen. Known as one of the most desirable gourmet foods, nothing else comes close to the flavor of a truffle. The truffle is an underground mushroom made up of two parts. The first is the fruiting, the part that you eat. The second part is invisible and is made up of the truffle’s “roots.” The fruiting body appears during different seasons depending on the type of truffle. The truffle can be large or small, evenly or irregularly shaped, and be present at a depth of between 4 to 16 inches.  Underneath its skin, which can be smooth or rough, is a soft flesh. The truffle’s environment is of the utmost importance for the development of the truffles.  It is a very demanding mushroom that needs particular environmental conditions, another reason they are so precious. Truffles grow in woods that have a mix of trees with a little undergrowth to maintain humidity often found along the banks of streams, but also by footpaths, pine trees, and poplars. Each species of truffle needs different soil and climate conditions.

Carnaroli rice: Carnaroli rice, like Arborio rice, is grown in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of northwest Italy. A short grain, plump Italian white rice, Carnaroli is considered one of the best rices to use in risotto. Carnaroli has a larger grain than the other Italian white rice varieties, but still cooks to a creamy texture with a firm body. Widely considered the finest of the risottos rice varieties, carnaroli has been nicknamed "the caviar of rice". It is slightly more sensitive with regard to cooking time and can absorb large amounts of liquid, but carnaroli's creamy texture and improved flavor keep it a favorite for chefs everywhere risotto is popular. Carnaroli rice is usually more expensive than other Italian rices. It is more difficult to grow and harvest, the plants break easily, are more disease prone, and the grains of rice break more during processing. The quality or variety of short grained Italian rice may not be as important in risotto as the cooking technique. Carnaroli is more forgiving when cooked; it absorbs more liquid and seems to reach the creamy al dente texture easily.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well."  Check out the Chef's website and blog. 

 

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