whole-grain risotto with tomato and sage
Among the things (not all of them edible) that I brought back from Italy, there is a package of riso Carnaroli integrale (whole-grain Carnaroli rice) purchased at the farmers' market in Milan. The rice is grown in a farm (azienda agricola) not far from the city. The label describes the product as non trattato, which I interpret as meaning that no chemicals were used in growing it. The farm can be visited, and this is something I would like to do the next time I am in the area.
In the meantime, I used the riso integrale to make risotto. My plan was to use some pomodorini ciliegia (cherry tomatoes) and some of the salvia (sage) from my herb garden to season the risotto. I grow several kinds of sage and the one I used this time is the pineapple one, whose smell I love. When I got back home, some of the branches displayed pretty red flowers, which make hummingbirds very happy.
For this risotto, I used one cup of riso integrale. The package label suggests to soak the rice for 5-6 hours, which I did. Bring 2.5 cups of vegetable broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. In a bigger saucepan, warm up 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, then add to it 1/4 cup of onion, minced, plus several sage leaves, slivered, to taste. The quantity of sage depends not only on your taste, but also on the intensity of flavor of the kind you use and on the size of its leaves. As you can see from the photo, the leaves of my pineapple sage are fairly large. Cook for 5 minutes, then add 4 oz. of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on their size). After 3-4 minutes, add the rice, drained, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add a generous splash of white wine (not cold) and stir. A minute later, start adding the simmering broth, one ladleful at a time, letting the rice absorb it. Keep the risotto at a nice simmer and stir it at regular intervals. Make sure it never gets dry.
When you pour the last ladleful of broth, bring to simmer 1/2 cup of water and add it as needed until the rice is cooked (35 minutes in my case, consistent with the information on the label, which says 30-35 minutes). The texture will be different from risotto made with regular Arborio or Carnaroli, a bit chewy, instead of creamy: take that into account when tasting it.
As cheese accompaniment I chose 1/4 cup of myzithra, grated, whose flavor, I thought, would go well with those in the risotto. Ricotta salata would have been an alternative. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese of choice, adjust the salt, stir, then let the risotto rest, covered, for a few minutes while you gather the guests around the table.
This is my submission for the (drumroll, please) third anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging. My heartfelt congratulations to the creator of this popular blogging event, Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. And many thanks as well, for being such an exceptional organizer. Here is the roundup of WHB #156.