Risotto alla Sbirraglia

Risotto alla Sbirraglia

Risotto alla Sbirraglia

At the root of the word sbirraglia is sbirro, which is a disapproving word for police in Italian. This risotto was very popular amongst the Italian police in the 1800s and it’s easy to see why – the dish is simply delicious. In modern day North America an unfortunate pattern has developed in the way that risotto gets served. Often it is a pile of unappetizing, mushy goop. The steps I provide here will help you achieve risotto the way it should be – el dente, creamy and oh-so good.  While this recipe takes a while to prepare, it’s worth it. Of note, I’ve adapted this recipe from one my favorite Italian cookbooks, “Flavors of Venice”.

Risotto alla Sbirraglia
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6+

Ingredients
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Costco sells packs of boneless, skinless thighs at a very good price.)
  • 8 cups (plus possibly more) chicken broth
  • 2 onions, 1 chopped very finely the other sliced into wedges for the broth
  • 2 carrots, 1 chopped very finely, the other cut into 2 pieces for the broth
  • 2 large celery stalks, 1 chopped very finely, the other cut into 4 pieces for the broth
  • 4 tablespoons Kirkland extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups Aborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine (I used a Cupcake chardonnay from Costco)
  • 1 cup grated Kirkland Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • fresh ground Kirkland Tellicherry pepper
  • fresh ground Kirkland pink Himalayan salt

Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan, bring the broth to a boil with the onion wedges, pieces of carrot and pieces of celery. After it boils continue simmering throughout the duration of preparing the risotto.
  2. In a large and deep sauce pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil, add ¼ cup of butter and then add the finely chopped onion, celery and carrot.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and gently fry the vegetables.
  4. After about 10 minutes, raise the heat to medium high, add the chicken pieces, push them down onto the pan (not on top of the vegetables) and fry until brown on each side.
  5. Again reduce the heat to medium low and cook the vegetables and chicken for another 25 minutes, or until the chicken is almost cooked. As you cook add broth from our simmering broth mixture so as to keep the chicken moist. Depending on the moisture content of your vegetables you’ll need anywhere from ¼ to ¾ cup of broth during this period to keep the chicken moist while cooking.
  6. After 25 minutes, remove the chicken from the pan and temporarily set aside.
  7. Bring the heat on the pan up to medium high and cook down most of any remaining liquid (don’t completely dry it out); it should only take a few minutes at most.
  8. Add the rice to the pan and stir in. Fry for a minute or two stirring frequently.
  9. Add the chicken back to the pan.
  10. Add the wine to the pan and cook until most of the wine has evaporated.
  11. Now add approximately 3 cups of broth to the pan, mix in thoroughly, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer.
  12. Continue cooking the risotto adding broth from the simmering broth mix as needed to keep it moist, until the rice is al dente – tender but still firm to the bite. Do not cover the pan with a lid. The cooking time will be at least 25 minutes but possibly 45 minutes or more depending on depth of your pan, level of heat etc. Remember, we want al dente risotto, not mush.
  13. If at any time you run out of the simmering broth but the risotto isn’t quite ready, add some water into the sauce pan with the pieces of onion, celery and carrot. Bring the broth mix back to a simmering boil, and then add broth from it into the risotto as needed.
  14. Once the risotto is firm to the bite, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and mix thoroughly.
  15. Season the risotto with salt and pepper to taste, but leave it less salty than usual as we’ll be adding Parmesan cheese.
  16. Serve into bowls/plates and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  17. Serve with a nice white wine and enjoy risotto as it is meant to be!

Risotto alla Sbirraglia

Risotto alla Sbirraglia