Risotto is one of my favourite rice dishes. One of the reason is that it is an endless source of inspiration, as so many different ingredients can be added… Forget about mushrooms and saffran, try granny smith apple and leek, hazelnut and pumkin or… a very simple but festive one: try to replace the white wine with champagne, and accompany it with an unusual pesto: rose petals and walnuts… Last Saturday was my hubby’s birthday, so Champagne was definitely the perfect ingredient for a romantic dinner…
Ingredients for two:
150g rice for risotto
150 ml champagne
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
30g parmeggiano cheese, grated
About 200 ml vegetable stock, warm
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
10 dried organic rose buds
½ tablespoon pink pepper
3tablespoon olive oil
Prepare the pesto: As I did not have fresh organic roses, I used dried ones, which turned out to be as good as the fresh ones… (and, yes, I am a rose eater…) Remove the green part of the roses and soak them in lukewarm water, with a few drop of lemon juice for 5 minutes. Blend the walnuts, pink pepper, salt and oil into a paste. Add the drained roses and blend quickly, so that the petals are still visible. Keep the pesto aside.
Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick pot. Add the finely chopped shallot and fry on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice, stirring well, so that it is coated with the oil/butter. Keep on stirring until the rice becomes translucent.
Pour the glass of champagne and stir well, until all liquid is absorbed. Add the bay leaf and slowly add the stock. As soon as the liquid is absorbed, add some more stock. Stir continuously, taking care that the rice does not stick to the pot. I usually remove the bay leaf after about 10 minutes, because I don’t like when its taste becomes too noticeable in the dish.
After 18-20 minutes, all the stock should be absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and add the parmeggiano cheese and pepper. Stir well. Check the seasoning. As stock and parmeggiano are quite salty, I never put salt before the end and, most of the time, I do not need to add any at all.
Serve with one spoon of rose & walnut pesto on the top of each servings.