Risotto al Barolo

Barolo Risotto


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is a very old recipe for making a traditional Piedmontese dish. Although it is more complicated than some of the more modern versions of similar risotto dishes, the end result is utterly delicious and hugely filling and satisfying, containing not just the rice and the wine, but also beans, meat and vegetables. Barolo is a rather expensive but wonderful wine, and imparts intense flavour in this dish, so is worth the outlay for a special occasion. The borlotti beans will need to be soaked overnight whether they are dried or fresh.


  • 200 g/7 oz fresh or dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight
  • 300 g/11 oz stewing veal
  • 1 onion, whole and 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 carrot
  • 115 g/4 oz/½ cup unsalted butter
  • 500 g/ lb/scant 3 cups risotto rice
  • 750 ml/ pints/3 cups Barolo wine
  • 90 g/ oz/generous 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Drain and rinse the beans, then cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil hard for 5 minutes. Drain again, then cover with water and simmer gently until tender. (Do not add salt, as it will make the skins toughen.) Strain the beans and set aside until required.
  2. Put the stewing veal into a large pan with the whole onion, the celery and the carrot. Cover with 1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups cold water, add a little salt and boil slowly for 2 hours, skimming occasionally.
  3. Remove the meat and the vegetables from the pan. Trim the meat, then chop the meat and vegetables finely. Set them aside and strain the stock into a clean pan. Adjust the seasoning to taste, bring to the boil and allow to simmer.
  4. Heat half the butter in a large, heavy pan. Fry the chopped onion gently for about 5 minutes, until soft and golden. Add all the rice and toast it quickly in the hot butter and onion. When it is well coated, shiny and hot, add about 175 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup Barolo.

  5. Stir the rice and allow the alcohol to evaporate, then add a ladleful of hot stock. Stir and allow the rice to absorb the liquid, then add another 175 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup Barolo. Continue in this way, adding wine and stock alternately and stirring in between each addition, until the rice is half cooked. This should take about 10 minutes.

  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the beans with more wine and stock. Cook for 4 minutes more, then add the chopped meat and vegetables. Continue as before until the risotto is creamy and velvety, but the rice grains are still firm to the bite: it should take about 20 minutes to cook. Remove from the heat.

  7. Add the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese. Stir together thoroughly, then cover with a lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving, sprinkled with extra Parmesan cheese.