Risotto is a staple in Italian menus, because it is easily transformed by its base ingredients. In this uncomplicated risotto, aromas of toasted hazelnut, dried figs, dried apple, and honey of the Vin Santo wine are a subtle, sweet backdrop that offset the bitterness of the saffron. This pairing allows the honey-like tastes of the vividly-colored herb to complement the richness of the liver pate and wine-cooked risotto.
Saffron is the world’s most expensive herb, because of the time-consuming labor process to obtain it. It is harvested from a flower that produces only three small red stigmas that are then dried and diffuse into the famous canary-yellow color. The smooth liver paté adds effortless depth and enhances the creamy texture of the finished risotto.
The complexity you will taste in this rustic dish comes from layering the sweetness of the onions and Vin Santo with the bitter and rich flavors of the saffron, chicken stock, and buttery paté.
— 350g Carnaroli rice
— 200g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
— 50g butter
— 2l stock (vegetable or chicken)
— Salt and pepper
— Extra virgin olive oil
— 1 medium onion
— 1 packet of saffron
— 200g chicken liver
— 1 onion
— 30ml Vinsanto wine
— 30g butter
— 15ml olive oil
— 3 salted anchovies
— 2 sprigs of thyme
— 50ml cream
- The paté can be made in advance, start by chopping your onion into a small dice, bring a pan to medium heat and add half your butter and oil oil and sweat your onions until soft, add your anchovies and cook until they dissolve. Clean and trim your liver, removing the hearts and fat. Chop your liver into small pieces and cook on medium heat until brown add your Vin Santozafferano wine and cook out the alcohol. Season with salt and pepper, add your thyme and then cream. Pour into a small pot and blend with a hand blender until you have a smooth paté, add your cold butter and mix until you have a stable consistency.
- For your risotto, chop your onion into small dice and sweet in a pan with olive oil on medium/low heat until the onion is soft and tender. Toast your rice for a minute or two, making sure you don’t brown your rice but just get each grain warm, then add your Vin Santo and cook until it evaporates. Now you can start adding your stock, making sure it is hot, add just a little at a time to cover the rice (if you add too much stock at once you loose control over the cooking time and texture of your risotto).
- Keep stirring and adding stock, little at a time for around 10min, season your risotto, add the saffron and keep cooking until the rice is al dente. Now take your risotto off the heat and add the butter and parmesan cheese, stir through so your risotto is creamy and at the right consistency.
- Plate your risotto and add the paté on top to finish the dish.