To make up for my shamefully long absence, I tried to make something so distractingly decadent and drool-worthy that my hiatus will hopefully be quickly forgiven! This risotto was conceived as all fantastic recipes – while discussing something completely different! We were sitting at my parents home, and having a chat with my visiting Italian brother-in-law about bhel and sev puri, and somehow reached the conclusion that a champagne risotto with parmesan would be incredible.
That just stuck.
All I did was add some truffle salt and sliced truffles.
One of the many fabulous characteristics of this recipe is that it involves absolutely no fresh ingredients (unless you count one small white onion ‘fresh’). It is just a fabulous way to use up that almost over bottle of champagne (yeah, because that always happens. NOT!). You can always spruce it up with some fresh spears of asparagus, or swap the champagne for merlot and then add some beetroot.
But never miss out the essentials of parmesan/pecorino and unsalted butter. It just ripens that texture and balances the starch out perfectly with a rich beautiful and creamy aftertaste. And using a heart shaped cookie cutter for plating just seems like the most appropriate yet not too-cheesy (pun intended) way to plate up this decadent risotto.
I started with one heart.
The poor thing looked so lonely that I added another.
[Also because one heart portion just seemed way too measly for one person!]
Thus was born my plating of two lopsided hearts, just in time for valentine’s day! Courtesy all the amazing epicurean gifts I receive, my baby cousin got me this amazing truffle + salt which I used to season the risotto right at the very end. The fabulous waft of truffle that emanated from the risotto was just sheer heaven. And then adding a few slices of my Croation truffle (saved up all this while for a special occasion) just elevated the plate.
For all my curious picture gawkers, the plate was scattered with freshly crushed mixed peppercorns and some grated parmesan, as a innovative way to provide adequate additional seasoning for people who may want some more (as opposed to placing a salt and pepper shaker).
- ¾ cup Arborio rice
- 1 ½ cups vegetable stock, warm
- 4 tbs unsalted butter
- ¼ cup + 1 tbs freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano
- 1 cup champagne
- 1 small white onion, diced
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Truffle (see Notes below)
- In a medium non-stick pan, melt 3 tbs of the butter. Sauté the onion till almost soft, for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the rice, and stir well so as to ensure that each grain is glistening.
- Now add in 1/2 cup of the champagne. Keep stirring, until almost dry and all the alcohol has cooked off.
- Now patiently repeat the process with 1/4 cup of vegetable stock until the stock is over (i.e. 6 times, adding another 1/4 cup everytime the liquid dries out).
- Finish with the balance champagne and cook till the alcohol completely evaporates. Taste to check. If you get a tart/acidic taste, you need to let the alcohol cook out slightly more.
- Season to taste, and finally add in the 1 tbs of butter + the 1/4 cup of parmesan. Take off the stove and mix. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
- Add truffle now, or once plated, if using. Finish with the 1tbs of parmesan.
- I used 2 types in this risotto. The first is the Salt & Truffle mix which I used to season the risotto at the very end. The second was 3-4 slices of black truffle in oil, to garnish. Now while these are not easily available, feel free to just drizzle some truffle oil before serving, or you can completely skip it altogether. Either ways - this risotto tastes fantastic, paired with a glass of champagne, of course!
- Always serve risotto fresh off the stove. Keeping it prepared and serving later or reheating it will almost always compromise the integrity of the rice and its texture, resulting in a rice-pudding consistency (no, not ideal).
- To make this less boozy, reduce the champagne to half the quantity, and use only at the beginning. The second round at the end is a more adult touch, and a special treat for an occasion such as Valentine's day!