In Australia, Riso Venere is hard to find and on the rare occasions you can track it down, it's at an exorbitant price. Luckily I don't have that problem in Italy - I can find it just about everywhere at a very reasonable price. So having the benefit of a kitchen, it's natural that I will indulge in all the things I just can't find or get in Australia.
I've decided to make a risotto but as Riso Venere is a wholegrain you'll need to par-boil it first for about 20 minutes. If you're using the Gallo brand of Venere rice you won't need to do this as that rice is already par-boiled.
150 grams venere rice, par-boiled for 20 minutes
1 small onion, diced finely
red wine, splash
stock, vegetable or chicken
50 grams stracchino, approx.
2 small cotechino
Make the risotto:
Put a good sized knob of butter and a little drizzle of oil in a non-stick pan and place on a medium-low heat - tip in the onion and gently saute until the onion has softened but not coloured. This should take about 10 minutes. Tip in the par-boiled rice and stir it well, making sure it's nice and glossy with the juices of the cooking onion.
Stir for a few minutes and then deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine - the wine should pretty much evaporate immediately - follow this up with a ladleful of simmering stock. Keep stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Add in another ladleful of stock and repeat the process until the rice is soft.
At this stage you would normally add a mix of butter and parmesan to give the risotto that lovely glossy, creamy look but as I'm serving this with the rather rich cotechino, I've used stracchino.
Stracchino is a soft cows milk cheese that while creamy has a lovely acidic edge - and it's this acidic quality that will work well with the cotechino.
Remove from the heat and vigorously stir in the stracchino.
Spoon the risotto out onto a plate and top with the prepared cotechino.
Prepare the cotechino:
Usually cotechino is quite a large sausage but in Italy I spotted these cute mini versions at my local butcher.
These need to lightly pricked - use a skewer to make a couple of holes. Pop them in a saucepan and cover them generously with water - bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes.
Slice them lengthways in half and then sear in a non-stick pan until lightly browned.