In order to be forgiven by the non-italian-speaking people...
RISOTTO AL CASTELMAGNO
(risotto with Castelmagno cheese)
Castelmagno is a cheese which has been made for many centuries: the earliest known mention of it dates to 1277, but in all likelihood its origins are much earlier.
The cheese has been traditionally made in the Province of Cuneo (Piedmont), it is strained (like the famous Gorgonzola cheese), semi-hard and seasoned; it's produced from cow’s milk with an addition of small quantities of sheep’s or goat’s milk.
Its aging takes about 6 months in cool and humid caves.
The Castelmagno has a cylindrical shape, has flat upper and lower surfaces and a diameter of about 25cm with a height of about 20cm and a weight ranging from 4 to 6 kilograms.
It's known as one of the best italian cheeses.
Ingredients (4 portions - about 20 min cooking time):
300g "Carnaroli", "Superfino Arborio" or "Vialone Nano" rice;
3-4 tablespoons fresh butter;
1 and 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots;
6-7 tablespoons grated Castelmagno cheese;
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano Reggiano cheese;
1/2 glass dry white wine (also sparkling is OK);
About 1 litre vegetable stock (broth) - you may use a ready product but please without glutamate;
Salt, grated nutmeg, white cayenne pepper.
A 30cm non-sticking pan;
1 wooden spoon (to avoid scratches).
Heat the broth and keep it as warm as possible during the whole preparation; put the butter in the pan and allow to melt on high heat, when the butter is almost completely melted add the minced shallots and after a short while (about 10-15 seconds) the rice.
Turn the rice in the pan for about 1 minute - you will see the rice getting shiny and nearly transparent (take care - don't overheat/burn the butter and the shallots).
Add the wine and let it evaporate; begin to add some stock while continuously stirring and always add enough broth in order to let the risotto gently boil during the whole preparation - you will see that the rice slowly incorporates the liquid.
After about 10-15 minutes add some freshly ground nutmeg, some ground white pepper and the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Since the vegetable stock and both the Castelmagno and the Parmigiano cheese are relatively salty, it's sensible to add some salt, if necessary, at the very end.
Towards the end of the cooking time (about 20 minutes in total - try anyway the rice from time to time to check if it's already done) try the rice for the last time, if it's almost done - it's anyway a matter of taste - add the grated Castelmagno cheese, eventually some more butter (1 teaspoon) and allow to melt while gently stirring.
You may add some more freshly grated Castelmagno to give the risotto an additional kick...
Some further notes about risotto:
Risotto with fish can also be prepared using olive oil and garlic instead of butter & shallots;
The broth can also be ordinary and non-vegetable.
A risotto is defined "all'onda" if it's kept relatively smooth and creamy or "al dente" if the rice is kept a little bit more consistent.
Parboiled or basmati rices should never be used for a risotto; these kinds of rices are genetically different from the italian varieties and will lead to quite different results....