Taleggio Risotto with Earthy Flavors
Each step of this three-part recipe serves to enhance and intensify the deep, sweet flavors of the final dish.
Brussels SproutsIn a pot of nicely salted boiling water, blanch the sprouts until just tender and shock immediately in an ice water bath. When chilled completely, drain the sprouts well and trim just the very end of the stem ends, discarding any ugly outer leaves that might fall off. Quarter the sprouts lengthwise and in a sauté pan set over high heat, add the oil. When the oil is just about smoking, add the Brussels sprouts and caramelize them nicely. Season them to taste with salt and set aside to cool.
Peel and small dice the parsnips. Toss them with a bit of olive oil just to coat them, then season with salt and pepper. On a parchement-lined sheet pan, roast the parsnips at 350 degrees until they are just starting to turn golden. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
When cool, puree the parsnips with the vegetable stock, making sure that they get completely pureed/dissolved. Reserve for later use.
Put the stock/broth into a saucepot over medium heat with a ladle and allow to heat completely. It does not need to boil, but should at least be very warm.
Heat a separate deep saucepot or high-sided braising pan over medium-high heat, add the oil first, then the butter. Allow the butter to dissolve completely into the oil. Add the shallots or garlic and sauté/sweat them in the fat mixture until translucent and soft, about 1 minute.
Add the rice and mix completely with the shallot and fat mixture so as to evenly coat all of the grains of rice. Allow to toast just briefly, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to mix completely. Allow the wine to reduce/absorb by about 90%, then turn the heat down a bit and begin adding the broth in small amounts, about a cup at a time, stirring frequently as you go with a wooden spoon or high-heat rubber spatula. Continue adding broth in small batches, making sure that each addition is fully absorbed before adding the next one. When you have used about 1/2 of your broth, begin testing the risotto texture.
Testing repeatedly is an important step as it is your only real gauge of whether the risotto is finished or not. Ideally the texture should be such that you can detect each grain of rice in your mouth and that they are cooked evenly and completely through but are still slightly firm.
When the risotto is finished, remove it from the heat and allow it to sit for about a minute to absorb any last loose broth. Add the Taleggio and fold it into the risotto making sure it is fully incorporated. Add the Brussels sprouts and fold them in. Finish the risotto by seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, drizzling some of the black truffle oil and sprinkling a bit of parsley over the top. For an added bit of luxury, finely shave fresh black truffles over the top of the risotto to finish.