Have you ever tasted a steaming hot bowl of freshly cooked risotto sprinkled with parmesan cheese from the mediterranean soul of Switzerland, the Ticino?
Risotto Festival Locarno, Switzerland
Here is your chance at the yearly Festival del Risotto – the open air Risotto Festival – held in the center square of the charming Ticinese town of Locarno every fall. This year it falls on the September 15 and 16, starting each evening at 7 pm. The square is fittingly called Piazza Grande (the great square). It is surrounded by quaint houses in hues from light yellow to powder blue, doing their own to give a wonderful atmosphere to this community event.
This year, twelve chefs come together at the plein air cook-out, where each cooks his or her own favorite family Risotto recipe in large, steaming cauldrons. Music and a wine-bar round out the event at which friends, family and strangers sit together at long tables on the piazza, chat about this and that with lots of laughter and clicking of Chianti filled glasses, enjoying their communal meal at the Risotto Festival in Locarno.
In case you can’t make it to this year’s Risotto Festival, here is a typical Ticinese Risotto recipe you might want to try on your own (ingredients & quantity you find in the side bar):
Ticinese Risotto Recipe with Port wine and Mushrooms
Rinse dried mushrooms well in luke warm water. Put in a bowl and add the port wide. Soak for 15 minutes.
Lightly clean the remaining mushrooms with a lightly wetted paper towel, then cut mushrooms into slices.
Peel and finely cut onion and garlic. Remove the fresh rosemary from its stem and cut finely. Cut the chives into fine rolls.
Cut the large soaked mushrooms into slices or smaller pieces and return into the port wine.
Cook/heat up the vegetable bouillon.
In a medium sized pan, warm the butter. Add and sautée onion and garlic, add the raw rice and cook shortly until the rice is covered in butter. Add the soaked mushrooms with the wine and stir constantly until it is soaked up. Then add a little more than half of the bouillon to the rice and again stir until it has been soaked up. Add the remaining bouillon by the Tablespoon full until the risotto is ‘al dente’ (literally to the tooth – is cooked, but not soggy and still very moist.
At the same time and approximately at the half-cooking time of the Risotto prepare the remaining mushrooms:
In a sautéeing pan strongly heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms over strong heat until they brown slightly. Toward the end of the cooking time, add the rosemary, and taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Add the Crème fraîche and Parmesan cheese to the Risotto, mix well and possibly add some more bouillon. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for two minutes.
Put the Risotto into deep plates, distribute the mushrooms overtop and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately and offer additional Parmesan cheese at the table to sprinkle overtop.