Risotto with tomino cheese is a classic first course, easy and quick to prepare. The simplicity of the ingredients is enhanced by the flavor of tomino.
Tomino is an Italian cheese (from Piedmont) usually produced from cow’s milk, but it is possible to find on the market some varieties made with goat’s or goat-cow’s milk, depending on the dairy farm. It has a compact and soft paste on the interior that is pale yellow in color. The cheese is small and round. When fresh, it has a pleasant, milky aroma with bitter notes, and when mature, its characteristics become stronger.
The flavor is delicate and slightly sweet. It is also recommended to serve Tomino as an appetizer, preferably grilled and paired with vegetables on the side.
This is something you can prepare for a special meal with friends and family. This year I will make it for my Christmas lunch. Like most authentic Italian recipes it’s deceivingly simple to prepare, but the result is extraordinarily tasty and beautiful. Happy Holidays! Buone Feste!
RISOTTO WITH TOMINO CHEESE (RISOTTO AL TOMINO)
1 liter (about 1 quart) vegetable or chicken stock
85 g (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
300 g (1 ½ cups) Italian Carnaroli or Arborio rice
240 ml (1 cup) dry white wine, at room temperature
4 tomini at room temperature
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm up the stock.
2. Start by preparing the cheese. Using a sharp knife, cut all around the top of the cheese, and with a spoon, gently hollow out some of the cheese, leaving a border. Do the same with all tomini. Chop the hollowed out cheese and put aside. Keep the crust in a warm place.
3. In a large saucepan heat 55 g (2 oz) of butter. Add the chopped shallot and sautè for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add the rice and stir thoroughly for about 3-5 minutes, in order to coat the rice well with the butter and shallot. (This helps regulate absorption of liquid and have a nice risotto al dente). Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed over medium-high heat.
4. Add a soup ladle or two of the stock until the rice is just covered, and stir continuously with a wooden spoon. When stock is almost completely absorbed (the rice should not be dry on top) repeat this process.
5. Remove the risotto from the heat (after about 16-18 minutes), when the rice is nearly tender to the bite, but with just a hint of resistance (al dente), and the liquid you have added up to this point has been mostly absorbed (risotto should still seem a bit soupy. Add the cheese and butter. Keep stirring the risotto to blend it in. You can also add some salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let it stand for 1 or 2 minutes.
6. Serve immediately in the cheese crust (plan your timing well. It is very easy to overcook risotto!).
Note: You can place the crust wrapped in aluminum foil for in a warm oven a few minutes. – Paola