Excuse the low level of morality today but… Am i the only one who enjoys watching sexy things like pancetta, rock shrimp, grana sardo and black truffle getting it on in a rich risotto? ..err..Nevermind! No really, I just hope i’m not turning into a food perv’. That would be bad! This kind of dish might be a little too good for my own sanity, i think.
Rock Shrimp Risotto w/ Pancetta, Grana Sardo & Black Truffle
- 5 ounces pancetta, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups good chicken stock
1 cup grana sardo, grated
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 teaspoon black truffle oil
1 pound rock shrimp, cleaned
4 tbs chives
1 medium black truffle (optional)
- Cook the pancetta in a large heavy-bottomed pot until crisp. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring the chicken stock to a gentle simmer. Discard some of the pancetta fat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and thyme and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated.
- Add about 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook, stirring constantly, until it is completely absorbed by the rice, then add another cup of liquid. Continue until all the broth has been used and the rice is ‘al dente’.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a saute pan and add the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper and cook until firm and pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold the shrimp into the risotto along with the grated cheese, the butter, the truffle oil and the chives. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Wait.. Who has started eating without my permission!?… WHO!??
Well, this wasn’t the end of my truffle obsession. It’s with the scent of black truffle still lingering on that I picked up a tasting menu from Per Se the next day (they’re up for grab!). I can tell you Thomas Keller was in good form. Just look at this menu…
(You can save the picture or click on it to see a bigger version)
I’ve never eaten at Per Se but this menu and particulary the carnaroli risotto with Alba white truffle really caught my attention. I’m getting closer and closer to take the plunge. Ordering this dish at Per Se will cost you a $150 supplement on the $275 tasting menu (that’s without tax or wine, friends.). At first I thought i should start saving up but that’s when i started reasoning myself:
“Hey dude! You too have carnaroli rice, good chicken stock, onions, white wine, castelmagno cheese and a white Alba truffle at work. Why don’t you… you know.. Do it yourself and spend the money in a strip club instead!!”
And so i did improvise my own version of that Carnarolli Risotto Biologico w/ Castelmagno & White Alba Truffle, although i did stop short of shaving a whole white truffle over the plate as Thomas Keller would, but this was more than you need to give you goosebumps.
The Alba truffle shavings release such a powerful earthy aroma as they touch the hot and creamy risotto, it’s hard to find the words to describe the mood it creates. The crumbly castelmagno cheese provides just the right richness and nuttiness and the milky white truffle foam adds texture to carry the flavor even further. A dream…
Just come to my house with a signed blank check payable to Zenchef or a Visa or Mastercard and i’ll let you experience the magic. You’re all invited!
Carnaroli Risotto Biologico w/ White Truffle from Alba & Castelmagno cheese
(served at Per Se ~ improvised by Zenchef)
- 1 cup organic carnaroli risotto
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 tbs butter
- 4 cups good chicken stock
- 4 ounces castelmagno cheese, crumbled
- 2 ounces Italian fontina, diced
- 1 tablespoon mascarpone
1 small White truffle from Alba
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot and add the onions. Cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat over medium-low heat. Add the wine and keep stirring until it has all evaporated. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring the chicken stock to a gentle simmer.
- Add one cup of the hot chicken stock to the rice and keep stirring until it has been completely absorbed. Then add another cup of stock and keep stirring, repeat until all the liquid has been used up. The rice should be ‘al dente’. Remove from the heat and immediately add the remaining butter, the castelmagno cheese, the fontina and the mascarpone stirring vigorously until the rice is creamy and ‘loose’.
- Divide between two bowls and shave the white truffle over the top at the last possible moment. Serve immediately. (The foam can be made by combining stock, milk infused with truffle scraps and truffle oil brought to a simmer and frothed with a stick blender)
Not that I’m plotting a culinary coup to take over Per Se and rename it Per Zen but I’m sending a clear message here: Watch your back Thomas Keller!