Chef Alessandro Pavoni shares some of his native Italian risotto vocabulary. "As you toast the rice grains in oil before adding the wine and stock, that’s called the tostatura. When the rice has swollen to al dente, it is rested for a minute and then the butter and parmesan are added – this is the mantecatura. And when you have achieved the perfect consistency – when the risotto moves around with the spoon like a rippling wave – that’s called all’onda (the wave)."
Alessandro's generous recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd.
- olive oil
- 200 g Italian sausages, meat removed from the casings and chopped
- 300 g peas
- 90 g butter
- 200 g parmigiano reggiano, grated
- 6 litres chicken stock
- 400 ml red wine
- large pinch of saffron threads
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 kg carnaroli rice
- handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and brown the sausage. Drain on paper towel.
Blanch two-thirds of the peas, then drain and puree them with a little of the butter and parmigiano reggiano. Set aside.
Heat the stock in a pot. Heat the wine with the saffron in a separate saucepan. Meanwhile, heat 80 ml of olive oil in another pot and add the onion, garlic and chilli. Cook gently for about 8 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir to toast the grains evenly, being careful not to let them burn. Add the hot wine, but don’t stir the rice – just shake the pot. When the rice has absorbed the wine, begin adding stock about 300 ml at a time and allow it to absorb without stirring.
After 3–4 minutes, stir in the sausage. Keep adding stock without stirring for another 12 minutes. (You can use the spoon to check that the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot.)
Stir in the pea puree and whole peas and cook for another 2 minutes, adding stock as needed, until the rice is al dente. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and remaining butter and parmigiano reggiano. Taste for seasoning.