I saw this dish on the menu of Osteria dei Benci, in Florence.
I was greatly intrigued by the combination of flavors and I knew this was a dish I would have to try. After a bit of reading, I realized that it is a traditional Italian dish, served as a primo piatto like any other savory risotto. The tartness of the strawberries is well complemented by the cream and the cheese and the final dish is very well-balanced. We enjoyed it a lot.
You can use the same recipe to make a blueberry risotto. Another non classic Italian combination would be blueberry and porcini mushrooms, but this is coming soon in another post.
Strawberry risotto with cream and parmesan
For four people, you will need:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups Arborio rice
6 to 7 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups strawberries, washed, stemmed and finely diced
1 cup light cream or 3 tablespoons butter
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
parsley oil, for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the vegetable broth in a small saucepan near the place where you will make your risotto and keep it warm on low heat.
2. In a heavy bottom pot, cook the onion and celery in the olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the rice, stir well and coat with the oil. Stir for one minute.
4. Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated completely.
5. Add the vegetable broth, about half a cup at a time, stirring constantly, making sure the liquid has evaporated completely between each addition.
6. After about 10 minutes, add half the strawberries and continue adding the broth a little at a time, stirring constantly.
7. After about 18 to 20 minutes (from the start), taste the risotto. When it is cooked to your liking (it should be al dente), turn the heat off. Add the rest of the strawberries, the cream or the butter, the parmesan and stir well to combine. Adjust for salt and pepper and serve immediately. Decorate with fresh strawberries and parsley oil if using.