Champagne Risotto for Two
Please, whatever you do, don’t open a bottle of champagne specifically for this. I mean, not unless you want to, and drink the other half of the bottle as you eat, as a wallowing-in-luxury way to welcome in the New Year, in bed preferably. It’s a great way to use up any dregs from last night, though. And any fizzy white wine would do; indeed I most often make it with Prosecco which I love inordinately for its soft bubble and mood-enhancing Venetian zing.
To be honest, the wine you use doesn’t even have to be fizzy; but it does have to be good: not great, but happily drinkable; you really taste it here.
And in place of the leeks you could use four fat scallions.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCooking for a date
Recipe Coursemain course
Taste and Texturebuttery, creamy, rich
- 1 small stick of celery, ¼ cup when chopped
- 2 leeks, 1 cup when white part is chopped
- ¾ stick unsalted butter
- 1½ cups champagne
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 1 1/3 cups carnaroli or arborio rice
- ¼ cup Parmesan, grated
- Ground white pepper
Chop the celery and the white part of the leeks very finely. Melt ½ stick of the butter with the oil in a wide saucepan and cook them gently until softened. In another saucepan, pour in 1 cup of the champagne and all of the chicken stock, and keep on a very low simmer nearby to your risotto.
When the vegetables are soft, tip in the rice and turn in the oil until slicked and glossy. Turn up the heat, pour in the remaining ½ cup champagne and, stirring all the time, let it be bubblingly absorbed.
Turn down the heat slightly but not too low, and keep adding ladles of champagney stock, letting one ladleful be absorbed before adding the next, stirring all the while.
Once the rice is cooked – 18–20 minutes should do it – stop, even if you’ve got some stock left over. Equally, if the rice has absorbed all the stock and yet needs further cooking – both happen – add a little more, or if it’s just a very little more you think you need, boiling water will do.
Off the heat, beat in the remaining butter and the Parmesan. Season with a good grinding of white pepper if possible to keep it looking pure and unspeckled.
2004 Nigella Lawson