quail risotto – serves 4

for risotto:
1 medium onion very finely diced
100g unsalted butter cut into 1 cm cubes and kept cold plus another 40g
400g Vialone Nano or Carnaroli risotto rice
200ml dry white wine
1000ml chicken stock
150g of grated grana padano (or parmesan) cheese
for quail stew:
shallots, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
50g cubetti de pancetta
bouquet garni made of rosemary, sage, bay leaf, tied together
8 quail, breasts and legs removed, carcass reserved
1 tsp tomato paste
500ml chicken stock

Put quail carcasses into 1L of chicken stock, cover and simmer fro 20 minutes

To make the quail stew, heat some oil in a large frying pan, add the vegetables, pancetta and cook slowly for about 4 minutes.

In a separate pan, brown the quail breast and legs in some oil. Add to the vegetables and mix together for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste, bouquet garni, 500ml of stock, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool. Remove all the meat from bones and flake back into cooking juices.

Over a medium heat in large heavy based pan soften the onion in 40g butter for about 3 minutes. Don’t let butter or onion brown. Add the rice and stir to coat in butter. Cook for two minutes stirring occasionally until rice is translucent. 

Add the white wine to the rice and stir (heat this in microwave before adding). 

When the wine is absorbed by the rice add a ladle of hot stock. 

When the stock is almost all absorbed, add another ladle. Repeat until all stock has been absorbed. This takes around 15 to 20 minutes. It’s important to stir regularly to avoid rice sticking to the base of the pan, but not constantly since this could break up the rice. 

After about 10 minutes, add the flaked quail meat, vegetables and the cooking juices

When all of the stock is absorbed, the rice should have a loose creamy texture but retain a little firmness to the bite. You may not need to use all the stock. The rice will tell you when it has absorbed enough. 

Remove from the heat for one minute to allow to cool a little, otherwise butter may split.

Add the chilled butter cubes and gently beat in until all melted.

Add the grated cheese and stir. 

Season to taste.


my favourite risotto - based on a recipe from Giorgio Locatelli