Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Risotto Bolognese

I love spaghetti sauce. I love pasta. But sometimes? I don't want them both together. That's where this dish comes from. A great pasta alternative. The flavors in this risotto not only mimic the flavors in the bolognese, but also compliment them. A yin to a yang, if you will. Plus, I love risotto... any way I can get it. (And yes, if you want to, you could serve this bolognese over pasta... But I'm telling you, after you have it like this? You may not want to.)



4 Tbs butter
6 ribs of celery, tops and bottoms trimmed, chopped
2 handfuls of baby carrots (about 40), sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 oz ham, chopped
2 lbs ground beef
28 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can puréed tomatoes
1 tsp tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste


Melt butter in a large stock pot. When melted add in onions, celery, carrots and garlic.

Sauté vegetables until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add in ham and sauté for 5 more minutesX. Add in ground beef and two pinches of salt, breaking meat up with a skillet, stirring frequently. When meat is cooked through add tomatoes, purée, tomato paste, wine, and broth.  Bring sauce to a boil. When boiling, turn heat down to medium. At this point it will look like there is too much liquid, don't fret it will reduce down. in the picture below, you can see the line of where the sauce started, and how far down it reduced in just 20 minutes of cooking.

Simmer for 30-40 minutes, about as long as it will take you to make the risotto, stirring frequently.  Season to taste before serving.



4 Tbsp butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4oz ham, chopped
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
7 cups beef broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
10 sprigs of Italian parsley, leaves removed and chopped
Salt to taste


Pour stock into a large stock pot, heat on low.  In a large rounded sauce pan melt butter. Sauté ham, onions and garlic until softened. 

Add in rice, and stir until rice starts to brown. Add wine, stirring until fully incorporated. The key to a creamy risotto (which, by the way, refers to the method of cooking and NOT the rice itself) is to stir, stir, and stir again. You want to add in a little bit of warm liquid, sir until its fully absorbed by the rice, and then add some more. You don't want to add too much liquid, just enough to barely cover the rice (see picture below). Be patient, and your patience will reward you with super creamy risotto!

Once the broth has all been absorbed, whisk in the cream and parsley. Your risotto should be creamy, but not runny. Salt to taste. Ladle a generous amount onto a plate, making a crater in the center. Spoon bolognese in to center, and serve together. 

This makes a lot! If you don't have as many mouths to feed, and you don't want lots of leftovers, you can halve the recipe and it will work just as nicely.

Also, this can be made dairy free by using olive oil in place of butter, and omitting the cream... However, if you can have dairy, I suggest leaving it as is. It may not be the most figure flattering recipe, but it more than makes up for the extra calories by taste!

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