Risotto con Cervo
D'Artagnan | Yield: 6
This substantial main course marries slowly-simmered venison, perfumed with rosemary and Barolo wine, with creamy risotto. For lovers of game and Italian food, it’s an incomparable match.
- 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 1/2 cup minced ventrèche
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds venison tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary + small sprigs to garnish, if desired
- 2 whole cloves
- 1/2 cup dry red wine, preferably Barolo
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 quarts chicken stock, reserving 6 cups for risotto
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Soak porcini in 2 cups of hot water until softened, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat half of the olive oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the onions and all of the ventreche to the pan, and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, add the venison, and cook until all the meat liquids have evaporated, about 15 minutes.
- Pick out porcini and chop them coarsely, reserving the liquid except for the last 2 tablespoons of gritty sediment. Add porcini to casserole, along with bay leaves, rosemary, cloves, and red wine, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the wine has nearly evaporated.
- Stir in tomato paste and seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock slowly, except for reserved 6 cups, and reserved mushroom liquid, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered until meat is tender, and the sauce is thickened, about 1½ hours.
- Remove bay leaves and rosemary, adjust seasoning, and set aside. Recipe may be made several days in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Warm before continuing.
- Heat the remaining 6 cups of chicken stock and keep warm. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium casserole over medium-high heat. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons of onion and the shallot, and sauté until golden. Stir in rice, turning to coat with oil. Pour in white wine, stir well, and add ½ cup of the hot stock, and season with about a teaspoon of salt.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Stir in half of the venison and sauce. Continue to add hot stock in small batches, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed, stirring constantly, until rice mixture is creamy and al dente.
- Remove from heat, stir in butter and cheese, and season with pepper. Ladle risotto onto 6 large plates. Spoon the remaining venison and sauce over each portion, add a small sprig of rosemary, and serve.