Thursday, February 4, 2016

Risotto con Broccolo Fiolaro

 A few weeks ago, some neighbors had us over and made Risotto con Broccolo Fiolaro.  It was SO good.  Our neighbor's uncle makes his own cheese, and it's like a Parm-Reg mixed with Grana.  It was so good.  He put a lot in the risotto.  Then, they said my kids could have as much of the cheese as they wanted, which got a little out of hand and I had to cut them off, a bit embarrassed by how much they were eating.  Anyway, the risotto that night was so good and this was my attempt at re-creating it.
I had never made risotto before, and only eaten it a handful of times (and only since arriving in Italy), but I love it and wanted to make it.  I asked my neighbor and she said "Just make regular risotto and cook the Broccolo and add it".  I don't "just know" how to make risotto, and all the Italian recipes I looked up for Broccolo Risotto said the same thing: "Make the risotto in the traditional way....." etc. So I just looked up a basic risotto from Fine Cooking and added Broccolo and Speck (a kind of dry-cured ham from Northern Italy; our neighbors also used it).  It worked out SO well.  I loved it!!  It made quite a lot and some of my kids didn't eat much.  But we ate our fill and with the rest, I made Arancini another day.  That will be posted another time!
Broccolo after being washed
Boiling the Broccolo for a few minutes to soften it (it wilts a LOT).
After boiling, drain and chop pretty small. At this point, you can also sautee with garlic and olive oil for extra flavor.  I skipped that this time.
Chopped up; ready to add to the risotto.
A small slab of Speck: I chopped this and cooked it with the onions.
Onions and Speck sauteing in olive oil.
The Risotto after adding the Broccolo.

Risotto con Broccolo Fiolaro
Adapted from our neighbors, Fine Cooking and Kucinare

a few large bunches Broccolo Fiolaro (it will cook way down)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
one thick slice of Speck or Prosciutto, cut into small cubes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
14-1/2 oz. (2 cups- about 377 grams) arborio, vialone nano, or carnaroli rice (I used carnaroli)
1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana (2 cups using a rasp grater)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Rinse the Broccolo in a colander.  Cut it up from the core.  Just cut length-wise and up so it's kind of like matchsticks, but thick.  The core is the only thing that needs to be cut because the leaves don't.  We'll cut it more later.  Bring a large pot of water to boil, and salt the water.  Add the Broccolo and boil for 5-10 minutes, or until the "stalks", or thickest parts, are crisp-tender, but not too soft.  Drain in the colander.  When cool, transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite-sized pieces.

2.  In a wide heavy-duty 5- to 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and chopped Speck and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, in a 3-quart saucepan, bring the broth and water to a bare simmer over medium-low heat.

4.  Add the rice to the onion and stir with a wooden spatula until the grains are coated with oil, slightly translucent around the edges, and opaque in the center, 2 to 3 minutes.

5.  Using a large ladle, add about 3/4 cup of the broth. Stir, mixing any rice sticking to the pot’s sides back into the mixture, until most of the broth is absorbed, the rice no longer seems loose when you shake the pot, and a wide trail forms when you run the spatula across the bottom of the pot.

6. After about 10 minutes, add your cooked and chopped Broccolo Fiolaro.  Continue to add broth in 3/4-cup increments, stirring constantly and scraping around the edge of the pot, until the rice is al dente (still a bit firm to the bite but without a hard or crunchy center) and most of the broth is absorbed, 18 to 22 minutes. (You may or may not use all of the broth; if you run out, use hot water.)

7.  Immediately turn off the heat. Add another 3/4 cup broth and the butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir quickly. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir again and serve. (Mine was a little too al dente at this point; so I just turned the heat back on "low", added about 1/4- 1/2 cup of broth, and cooked and stirred until that was absorbed.)
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