Riso Gallo risotto rice
Genoa 1856, ships sail into the harbour with paddy rice for a new factory. The factory processes the rice to be shipped further to South America. And so Riso Gallo was founded. Business was going to so well, the company soon started with Italian grown rice from the risotto valley around Robbio Lomellina.
Six generations further and the red rooster on the green box is recognizable in the shops as a top risotto rice.
I learned to make risotto from an Irish friend in Edinburgh (!). She told me never to stir while it was cooking and up till today I still don't know what is the best way to make risotto: to stir or not to stir?
She did give me another tip that I know is right: never add salt to a risotto, there is enough already in the stock you use and then the spoons of salty Parmesan. The best risotto I ate in Italy of course. It was a little osteria in Lucca and the risotto came steaming with fresh Parmesan slithers and a touch of lemon zest.
For me risotto is one of the best comfort food recipes ever. I like it in every season too. In Winter I make it with sage and pumpkin and in Spring with salmon and asparagus, Summer is fresh with lemon zest and in Autumn I go wild with mushrooms.
There is something soothing and relaxing about pouring the stock over the rice grains and see it bubble.
It is a quick recipe, only 30 minutes or so to make, just make sure you have everything ready to start - also that glass of wine to drink while making it...
The five basic steps are:
Soffrito: sauté chopped onions in some butter
Tostatura: add the rice grains and stir well so every rice grain shines with the butter
Sfumare: deglaze with white wine, let it simmer until the wine has evaporated
Cottura: add warm stock one ladle at a time, wait to add the next ladle until all the rice has absorbed the liquid
Mantecatura: when the risotto is made, add a bit of butter and parmesan to make it creamy
Serve the risotto immediately!
Last year I had the privilege to meet one of the sons of the Riso Gallo family at Brussels top Italian restaurant Senzanome (**). A whole menu with Riso Gallo risotto rice, what a feast it was. The warm Italian hospitality of Nadia Bruno and top chef Giovanni Bruno made it a lunch never to forget.
PS Never eat risotto with a spoon, only fork and sometimes knifes!