Stefano’s risotto with durello

Stefano’s risotto with durello

Nuovo Mondo
Alan Benson

Durello is a dry sparkling wine from the hills of verona. You can use a dry prosecco, or indeed any dry sparkling wine. I mention durello because of my interest in alternative varieties and also to be true to a great classic from the verona region, where a terrific semi-hard cheese called monte veronese also comes from and completes the risotto. Seek it out from importers or replace with other semi-hard cheeses like piave or montasio, which are more readily available.


Quantity Ingredient
olive oil, for cooking
100g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
250g italian risotto rice
200ml durello or other dry sparkling wine such as prosecco
2 litres Chicken stock
100g grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
100g grated semi-hard cheese such as monte veronese, piave or montasio


  1. Heat a little olive oil with half of the butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent but not coloured. Add the rice and stir for a minute or so, until the rice is well coated. When the rice begins to stick to the base of the pan, add some wine, allow to evaporate and then add a generous amount of stock, initially flooding the rice and stirring constantly. Continue to stir and add the stock and wine alternately as it is absorbed by the rice. Season with salt, if needed. You may not need to use all the stock; the rice should not be too wet or too soft.
  2. Place the pan on an even work surface and drop in the remaining butter and the cheeses. It may seem like a lot, but this is where the umami flavour is found! Using the handle of the pan or both handles, push the pan forward with a vigorous movement, so that the rice rises in an upward wave. As you get more and more confident this will become easier. The higher you push the rice, the greater the aeration and the more creamy and integrated the rice will be. I have seen some Venetian chefs pushing the wave as high as 40–50 cm from the base of the pot. It looks difficult and acrobatic, so go slow initially or you’ll end up with hot rice all over your kitchen – a dozen flicks or so will be enough. If you are not too confident, just stir with a wooden spoon. Serve at once.
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