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Recipe of the Month - January 2009

Risotto al Barbera

Some poor souls feel the need, at this time of year, to embark on a regime of austerity and self-flagellation, even going so far as to undergo a programme of de-tox, or, worse still, to forgo all wine and other strong drink. I most emphatically do not advise this! For now, in the coldest, bleakest month of the year, when we’re all broke after Christmas and summer seems a lightyear away, this is the time when we need more than ever to pamper ourselves with warming foods and wines. This simple risotto al Barbera is just such a comforting dish, and absolutely fabulous accompanied by a glass (or two or three) of Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba.

(serves 6)

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled, crushed and finely chopped
Good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
300 g arborio or carnaroli rice
2 glasses Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba (or other full Italian red)
1.5 l rich, preferably homemade chicken stock (or use a good stock cube)
Generous knob of Devon butter
Freshly ground parmigiano reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil with a little butter in a large saucepan, and gently sauté the chopped onion and garlic until soft. Add the rice, stir well to coat with the oil, and continue to toast for a few minutes, until the grains of rice are hot to the touch. Add the Barbera and allow to simmer and evaporate. Then add, a ladle or two at a time, the boiling hot chicken stock, stirring frequently, while the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue to add the stock in this manner until the rice is just al dente (about 18-20 minutes). Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a generous knob of butter and a couple of heaping spoonfuls of freshly ground parmigiano reggiano, beating it in to the risotto with a wooden spoon.

Serve immediately as a first course, accompanied by Mario Fontana’s exquisite Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2005, a wine that will definitely banish the January blues.

This recipe will be on the menu at The Globe, Topsham as a ‘Special’ throughout January together with Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2005.

Copyright Marc Millon 2005-2009 All rights reserved
Images copyright Kim Millon 2005-2009 All rights reserved

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