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Carnaroli Risotto with Brown Butter

Carnaroli Risotto with Brown Butter by chef Thomas Keller

Although risotto can be made with many varieties of rice, Carnaroli will produce the creamiest texture.

This basic risotto can be served very simply without extra adornments or can be topped with braised meats, vegetable ragouts or the ultimate, shavings of fresh white truffles.

The risotto is topped with a drizzle of brown butter which lends a nutty accent to this creamy dish.

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• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 1/4 cup minced onions
• 1 1/2 cups Carnaroli rice
• 1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
• About 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• Coarse salt
• 24 tablespoons (12 ounces) unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
• 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or to taste

Heat the oil in the 6 qt. Copper-Core sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook slowly until softened and translucent but not browned. Mix in the rice and stir for 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to avoid browning the rice.

Stir in the wine, and then let it simmer without stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. When the liquid has been absorbed, begin stirring to “toast” the rice, scraping the bottom often to prevent the rice from sticking.

The rice should not brown. When the alcohol smell has completely dissipated, increase the heat and add enough stock to cover the rice.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid has almost evaporated.

When the stock has evaporated enough, stir in another 1/2 cup of the stock and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. As the stock evaporates, continue to add 1/2 cup at a time, letting it reduce each time. Taste the rice from time to time; the finished rice will be similar to al dente pasta, it should be thoroughly cooked but with a bit of “bite” remaining in it. Do not allow the rice to become mushy. You may not need to use all of the stock for the rice to reach this point.

Meanwhile, begin to make the brown butter. Place 8 ounces (16 tablespoons) of butter in a small Copper-Core sauce pan over medium to medium high heat. Once melted and bubbling, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the butter has stopped bubbling and is the colour of strong tea. It will have a nutty fragrance. Keep warm.

Remove the risotto from the heat and with a stiff spoon, beat in the remaining 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) of butter, a bit at a time, working quickly so that it will emulsify with the rice, creating a creamy risotto.

Beat in the whipped cream, then add cheese and salt to taste.

Divide the risotto among serving bowls. Drizzle brown butter over the top and serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8

Chef Thomas Keller's tip



"It is important to cook out the alcohol in the wine. Smell the aroma once the wine is added to the pan. You will be able to smell and feel the alcohol at the back of your nose. As the rice cooks and the wine evaporates, the smell of the wine will dissipate and be replaced by the smell of “toasted” rice.
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