Risotto, Red Wine & Salami: what more can you wish for?

1st part of a new sub-cat for Wacondah: cooking, wining, dining and gastro-sharing!

Salami and red wine risotto

A few years ago, we learnt that risotto had to be made with arborio rice. Since then, other varieties such as carnaroli and vialone nano have come along and things are no longer quite so simple.

There are, in fact, hundreds of different varieties of risotto rice. I think it is best to choose a superfino such as arborio or carnaroli: they take longer to cook than others but are slower to turn to pudding if slightly overcooked. If using a new type, be extra vigilant in checking when they are cooked.

125g Italian salami, in a piece
1 onion
1 large carrot
1 stick of celery
100g butter
450g risotto rice
350ml Dolcetto or Barbera (red wine from Piedmont)
3 bay leaves
700ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper
100g fresh grated Parmesan

● Peel the skin from the salami and cut it into small dice, definitely no more than half a centimetre square. Peel the onion and carrot and cut them, with the celery, into dice every bit as small as the celery. Melt half the butter in a heavy sauce pan and add the salami. Turn up the heat and fry the meat until it’s crisp and has rendered much of its fat. Add the vegetables and stew on the same lively heat, turning regularly until they begin to soften. Bring the stock to the boil in a separate pan.

● Add the rice to the vegetables, season it well with salt and milled pepper and turn it in the mixture until every grain is well coated in the butter and fat from the salami. Pour in all the red wine, add the bay leaves and stir well. Turn down the heat and let the liquid come gently to the boil. Let it simmer slowly, stirring it occasionally until the wine has been absorbed and the rice starts to stick. Now start to incorporate the hot stock ladle by ladle, stirring as you do so. Continue, adding a little more stock every three minutes or so, until the rice is cooked to your taste. When the whole is completely amalgamated, serve forthwith with plenty of Parmesan.

Rowley Leigh is the chef at Le Café Anglais