Strawberries have been used in Italian cooking as far back as ancient Rome, where they were often used to add extra flavour to meats and pulses. Today, Roman strawberries are still considered the best, with Lago di Nemi, a small town in the Roman hills, thought to produce the most flavoursome strawberries in the country.
This tart risotto has a surprisingly savoury flavour, similar to tomato, and is served for lunch or dinner rather than as a dessert.
- 250 g strawberries, hulled
- 1 L chicken stock
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 300 g (1⅓ cups) arborio rice
- 125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine
- 2 tbsp thickened cream
- 80 g (1 cup) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (see Note)
- mascarpone and basil leaves, to serve
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.
Place strawberries in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Set aside.
Place stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and keep at a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add rice and stir for 1 minute or until coated in mixture. Add wine and simmer for 1 minute or until wine is completely absorbed.
Add a ladleful of hot stock, stirring occasionally, until stock has been absorbed. Repeat until about 250 ml of stock remains; this will take about 15 minutes. Add chopped strawberries and stir to combine. Add remaining stock and stir until all stock is absorbed and rice is al dente.
Remove from heat and stir in cream and half the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve topped with a generous dollop of mascarpone and scattered with basil leaves, remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and cracked black pepper.
• Parmigiano-Reggiano from delis, is the finest Italian parmesan cheese. Substitute regular parmesanor Grana Padano.
Photography Brett Stevens
As seen in Feast magazine, February 2014, Issue 28. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.