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Author Notes: I've always wanted to make a great risotto...and wear glasses. One was easier to accomplish than the other! 20 years later with my 'bottle-eyes', I finally made a great risotto! Tiny chunks of pork, fried in onion and butter, arborio rice...loving cooked and stirred to creamy perfection and at the very end, topped with a fragrant, earthy sage pesto and chestnuts. Perfect for a winter's day! Some tips for a successful risotto: keep the stock hot throughout the cooking process; stir continuously and don't add any liquid until the previous addition has been absorbed. Also, once it is ready and rested....serve immediately! —Kitchen Butterfly
vegetable stock (I used stock cubes + water)
teaspoon olive oil
large onion, finely chopped
large clove of garlic, chopped
pork tenderloin, diced
(sea) salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used a combination of Parmesan and Pecorino)
For the Sage Pesto
2 tablespoons of flaked almonds (pan-roasted), handful of sage leaves, 1 clove of garlic, 1/3 cup of olive/walnut oil, Parmesan cheese (to taste)
For the Chestnut topping
1 teaspoon butter, 4 sage leaves, 50g cooked chestnuts (chopped)
- Make the Sage Pesto - Crush dry roasted almonds in a mortar and then set aside. Then, pound sage leaves, the garlic clove and a pinch of salt till leaves are soft. Add the crushed almonds to the sage mix and stir well. Add olive/walnut oil to loosen (and to taste) and stir in grated parmesan cheese, a little at a time till you have a 'saucy mixture'. Its ready. Put in a little bowl and refigerate till your risotto is ready.
- Put the stock in a pan and keep it simmering on low heat.
- In another pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions and a pinch of salt and fry very slowly for about 5 minutes without colouring then add the diced pork and let that cook for another 3-4 minutes, till the chunks become white
- Add the rice and turn up the heat . Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes till the rice starts to 'fry'.
- Add the cider and let it cook for 4-5 minutes or until all the liquid is evapourated.
- Once the cider has evapourated, add a ladleful of hot stock and a good pinch of salt and turn down the heat to a simmer, stirring - you don't want the rice to cook too quickly on the outside which will prevent the release of the wonderful cream. Let the rice absorb the stock before adding another ladelful
- Keep adding 1 ladleful of stock at a time, coaxing the silky, creamy starch out of the rice by stirring continuously, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15-20 minutes.
- The rice is cooked when it is soft with a hint if bite. If you haven't reached this stage and you're out of stock, add some boiling water
- When it has reached the 'stage' of readiness, take the pan off the heat and add the butter and grated cheese. Mix well and put a lid on the pan, allowing it rest for a couple of minutes.
- While the risotto rests, heat a pan with a teaspoon of butter and add 3-4 large sage leaves, Once one side is cooked, about a minute, flip over and fry the other side. Bring the leaves out and let cool, then slice into thin strips. Put back into pan and add chopped chestnuts. Toss about and when warmed through, take off heat.
- To serve, ladle spoonfuls into deep bowls and serve with spoonfuls of sage pesto and chestnut topping. Enjoy
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Risotto (Savory)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Pork with Cider