Cast Iron

Risotto a la College

September  9, 2009
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This, I have been informed, is an incredibly incorrect risotto preparation method. I developed it in college based on the (apparently inaccurate) risotto tips in Bill Buford's "Heat" and the (fairly inscrutable) recipe in the English language edition of the Silver Spoon cookbook. And my roommate Stefan swearing at me. However, it is quite delicious, so, suit yourselves. You need a good heavy pan and a good wooden spoon (one that won't splinter) to do it this way. —The Weary Epicurean

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1.5 quarts good chicken stock
  • 2 ounces dried porcinis
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small stalk celery, finely diced
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine or prosecco
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 leaves of sage
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  1. Mince the onion, mince the garlic, finely dice the carrot, finely dice the celery and rehydrate the porcinis in some tepid water. The vegetables need to be cut small enough to cook quickly (see step 2 below). Heat the stock close to boiling, and get a ladle handy.
  2. Heat a glug or so of olive oil in a heavy bottom cast iron pan. Do not let it smoke, but come close. Toss in the rice, the onion, the celery and the carrot. Season with salt and paper, stir lightly, and watch carefully. The rice is toasted properly when it is no longer translucent at all and even slightly yellow, but definitely not brown at all. Add the garlic right at the end.
  3. Splash the rice/vegetables with the wine (I know, I know) and stir with the wooden spoon to make absolutely sure nothing's stuck. Once this has bubbled up for a second, start adding half ladlefulls of stock, stirring constantly with your wooden spoon. Wait until the last ladlefull is almost completely absorbed before adding more. After a few ladlefulls, add the porcinis, the bay leaf and the sage.
  4. As the rice is absorbing more and more liquid, start leaning into your stirring - really grind that shit, ultimately. You want to occasionally catch and crush a grain between your spoon and the pan. This is the part that I think makes me a total heretic. Oh well.
  5. When the rice will absorb no more stock, it is done. This typically takes about 35 minutes. Scrape it out into a bowl, add the cheeses and stir through. I drip a little truffle oil on when I serve it sometimes, although I am aware that that makes me an insipid boor.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
  • The Weary Epicurean
    The Weary Epicurean

3 Reviews

Amanda H. September 10, 2009
Sounds great -- have you ever had a problem with the wine reacting with the iron pan?
The W. September 15, 2009
haha - that was the "i know, i know" part. basically, no i don't think it's a big deal so long as you have well-seasoned pan, and especially if you're just using a little wine. i mean, it's going to strip some of the seasoning, but not much. it's not like your making tomato sauce or something, it's just a little red wine. if you're worried about it you can omit the wine though.
The W. September 15, 2009
erp white not red. although you can use read :-)