Risotto Friuli-Style, with Rosemary and White Wine

Risotto alla Friulana Col Rosmarino e Vino Bianco

The flavor base here rests squarely on the aromatic properties of rosemary, which are exploited two ways. Most of the herb is sautéed along with the garlic, which produces a heady, earthy aroma recalling the background fragrance of an Italian roast. When the risotto is fully cooked, I add the remainder of the rosemary off heat, during the mantecare process. At this stage, when the herb is raw, its scent is fresher and more ethereal.

The risotto comes from Friuli, the region in the northeastern corner of Italy that is celebrated for its white wines. According to my husband, the in-house wine adviser, an ideal choice for the wine you add to the cooking liquid would be a full Friuli white such as Tocai.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups homemade meat broth, prepared, or a bouillon cube dissolved in 6 cups simmering water or ½ cup canned beef broth diluted in cups water
  • tablespoons butter
  • teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • cups carnaroli, arborio, or other imported Italian rice for risotto
  • 1 cup dry, full white wine

For Mantecare

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • Black pepper ground fresh
  • Salt

Method

  1. Bring the meat broth or its substitute to a slow, sputtering simmer on a burner next to the pot where you’ll be cooking the risotto.
  2. Put tablespoons of butter and the garlic into the pot where you will be making the risotto, and turn on the heat to medium. Cook the garlic, stirring often, just until it becomes colored a very, very pale gold. Add 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves, stir for a few seconds, then add the rice.
  3. Turn the heat up to high and quickly stir the rice with a wooden spoon to coat it all over. Add the wine, and when it has completely bubbled away, add 1 cup of simmering broth. Cook the rice, stirring it and periodically adding liquid, as described in the basic risotto. Finish cooking the rice, stirring always and adding broth when needed, until it is tender but firm, about 25 minutes.
  4. Off heat, perform the mantecare step, swirling in the butter, the grated Parmesan, 1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary, and black pepper, and turning the risotto over four or five times with your wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Transfer to a warm platter and serve.

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