In Lombardy they know just about everything you might need to know about risotto and red wine. This wonderfully rustic risotto is made with lard, beans, onions and dense red wine – some of my personal favourites are Botticino, Buttafuoco or Oltrepò Pavese Barbera.
Heat the broth to a slow simmer. In a large pan, heat the lard, butter or ham fat until sizzling softly, then add the onion and cook gently until the onion is a transparent blond colour and soft. Add the rice and fry it carefully, turning it so it is coated in fat.
Pour in the red wine, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broth and the beans alternately, stirring in a ladleful of broth then a large spoonful of beans. Allow the rice to absorb the broth before adding any more. Continue until the rice has almost cooked, about 25 minutes from the time of adding it to the onion. Take off the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Cover and leave to rest for 2–3 minutes, then turn out on to a serving dish and serve.
© 1995 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.