Ragu Risotto

I’ve done this one before, but it is so fucken good I had to do it again!


quarter cup diced onion
quarter cup diced carrot
quarter cup diced celery
one cup dry white wine
three quarter pounds ground meat (veal, beef, pork, lamb, or a mixture)
one cup crushed san marzano tomatoes
one quart stock (veal, beef, or chicken), diluted 1:1 to make two quarts broth
two cups arborio rice
black pepper
long pepper
two tablespoons chopped fresh basil
one half cup grated parmigiano reggiano
one tablespoon butter
olive oil

Sautee the vegetables on the lowest possible heat for as long as it takes to completely soften, adding liberal amounts of fresh-ground long and black pepper. The whole essence of a ragu is patience, with everything cooking on as low a heat as possible for as long as necessary. You don’t want to brown or caramelize anything.

Add the meat and continue to sautee very slowly until the meat is fully cooked.

Deglaze with the white wine and turn up the heat to boil off the alcohol.

Add the tomatoes, turn the heat back to the lowest setting, and simmer covered for at least an hour and a half.

This is what it looks like when it’s done. You may have to add a little of your broth (or water) partway through if it reduces too quickly. Salt to taste, but note that you will be adding salt later from the broth and the cheese. (Note that this ragu can be used to make a pasta bolognese: just add some milk, bring back to a simmer, throw in very molto al dente pasta plus one cup pasta water, finish for a few minutes on medium high heat, turn off the heat, add grated parmigiano reggiano, butter, and parsley or basil, and stir to incorporate.)

Add the rice, turn the heat up to medium, and sautee until the rice is evenly coated and starts to smell toasty.

Cook the risotto in the usual way, ladling in simmering broth and stirring as it cooks. You want to have the heat at a medium level such that it takes about 16-18 minutes for the rice to reach very molto al dente–still a good bit of crunch in the center–at which point you turn the heat off. It will still continue to cook even with the heat off, so you need to stop the heat *before* it reaches the desired doneness.

Add the grated cheese, butter, and one tablespoon of chopped basil. Stir to incorporate, cover, and allow to rest for a few minutes. If you want it looser, you can add extra broth at this point. Personally, I prefer meat risotto to be firmer, and save the loosey goosey shitte for seafood or vegetable risottos.

Plate, grate, sprinkle, EAT!

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