Monday, October 15, 2007

A very nice rice

I was determined to try our this Acquerello risotto I’d picked up at Harvey Nichols. And I had a hunk of the finest Grana Padano burning a hole in my fridge to eat with it. Acquerello risotto rice seems quite expensive but I was intrigued by the fact that it is irrigated by pure Alpine water and cultivated in a nature sanctuary in the Piedmont region of Italy. The unhulled grains of rice are left to age for a year to ensure a greater absorption with plumper, firmer grains. It will be interesting to see if I can detect a difference.

I decided to flick through Giorgio Locatello’s Made in Italy cookbook as he is such an aficionado of the mighty risotto and has dedicated a whole chapter to various ricey recipes. And his very first one is the classic risotto with grana cheese, and explains that back at home he would have used Grana Padana instead of Parmesan for cooking because of the crumbly texture and saved the Parmesan for the table. This is apparently also the risotto you would have been given as a child when you were sick. Not that I particularly feel the need for the ultimate comfort food but it all seemed a good sign and the a perfect way to showcase my new risotto and cheese.

And it turned out perfectly - with the cold cubes of French unsalted butter and Grana Padano used as the mantecatura making the exceedingly plump grains extra creamy. And there was also a pleasing little (all' onda) consistency with the required ripple like the waves of the sea. And most importantly, it tasted exceedingly good!

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