Ruby-red risotto with Pomegranate - Risotto alla Melagrana

Ruby-red risotto with Pomegranate
“Risotto alla Melagrana”

    • Prep Time
    • Minutes
    • Cook Time
    • Minutes

Risotto with Pomegranate - "Risotto all a Melagrana": the ingredientsTotal Cost: UK/£ 6,82*

Cost/portion: UK/£ 1,70*

Ruby-red risotto… taste and culture in a bowl!

I first ate this risotto in Genoa: Lucia, a friend of mine made it. Never had it before, and I fell in love with it. It’s perfect for this season and I believe its ruby-red seeds perfectly match the spirit of Christmas holidays.

Also, the pomegranate is a commonly used symbol of the Christ in sacred art iconography. Painters like Pinturicchio, Botticelli, Lorenzo di Credi and many others have painted some of the most beautiful representation of the “Madonna of the Pomegranate”… taste and culture in a bowl!

Note for the users: please click on the label “HOW TO” to watch the slide-show of each cooking step.

* Please note that both total cost and cost per portion are approximate and that can vary according to seasons and to different conditions.

Recipe Rating

  • (1 Rating)

Ingredients

  • Rice (carnaroli)*- 320gr

  • *you can also use other types of rice like arborio or vialone nano
  • Vegetable stock** - 1,8lt (see recipe here)

  • **in alternative, 1,8lt of boiling water and one and a half or two stock cubes or gel portions. Melt the cubes or gels in boiling water and sieve before use to clean it from undesired pieces of vegetables. Also reduce the amount of salt that follows.
  • Salt - 9gr

  • Sweet Onion - 60gr

  • Shallots- 60gr

  • Butter - 40gr [part 1 of 2]

  • Salt - 2 pinches or to taste

  • Dry White Wine - 20ml [part 1 of 2]

  • Pomegranates - 3 large, to be used as it follows:

  • Pomegranate seeds - about 180gr (2 large pomegranate)
  • Pomegranate juice - about 70-80ml (one large pomegranate)
  • Parmigiano cheese - 70gr

  • Black pepper corns - 2gr

  • Dry White Wine - 60ml [part 2 of 2]

  • Butter - 35gr [part 2 of 2]

  • Utensils

  • One pestle and mortar

  • One paring knife

  • One sharp chef knife

  • One chopping board

  • One small saucepan 2-3lt

  • One 4-5lt saucepan

  • One zester or grater

  • One orange squeezer

  • One small bowl

  • One small receptacle

  • One large frying pan

  • One ladle

  • One big wooden spoon or silicone spatula

Instructions

  • 1.
    Putting the stock to boil and frying the brunoise base

    • Vegetable stock* - 1,8lt (see recipe here)
    • *in alternative, 1,8lt of boiling water and one and a half or two stock cubes or gel portions. Melt the cubes or gels in boiling water and sieve before use to clean it from undesired pieces of vegetables. Also reduce the amount of salt that follows.

    • Salt **- 9gr
    • **reduce to taste if you are using stock cubes or gel portions.

    • Salt - 9gr
    • Butter - 40gr [part 1 of 2]
    • Sweet Onion - 60gr
    • Shallots- 60gr
    • One small saucepan 2-3lt
    • One paring knife
    • One sharp chef knife
    • One chopping board
    • One 4-5lt saucepan

      Put the stock to boil and season it with salt: the 9gr should be just enough, but do it according to your personal taste.
      Put the larger saucepan with the 40gr of butter on a low heat and let the butter melt completely.
      Meanwhile, with a paring knife, clean the roots of both the onion and the shallots, then finely cut them into a nice brunoise.
      Add the brunoised onion and shllots to the melted butter, stir evenly and let them sweat and fry gently.

      Note about cutting the onion into brunoise

      With a paring knife, chop off the tip of the onion. Clean the roots, halve it and peel off the tunics. Put each half facing down on a chopping board. With either the paring knife or the tip of the chef knife, make vertical cuts - 2millimeters apart from each other - driving the tip of the knife as close to the roots as possible. Hold the onion together with one hand’s fingers, get the chef knife and with a fulcrum movement complete the mincing with narrow cuts.

  • 2.
    Preparing the pomegranate’s seeds and joice

    • Pomegranates - 3 large to be used as it follows:
    • Pomegranate seeds - about 180gr (2 large pomegranate)
    • Pomegranate juice - about 70-80ml (one large pomegranate)
    • One orange squeezer
    • One small bowl
    • One small receptacle

      Open 2 of the large pomegranates and and collect all their seeds into a small bowl. Make sure to leave aside any remnants of their whitish membrane.
      Then halve the third pomegranate and extract all its juice with the squeezer. Set aside.

  • 3.
    Frying the seeds, grating cheese and crushing the black pepper

    • The frying base of shallots and onion
    • Dry White Wine - 20ml [part 1 of 2]
    • Parmigiano cheese - 70gr
    • Black pepper corns - 2gr
    • The pomegranate seeds -about 180gr
    • Salt - 2 pinches or to taste
    • One grater or zester
    • One pestle and mortar

      When the brunoise has soften completely and has gained a golden colour, add 20ml of dry white wine to it and let it reduce completely.
      Grate the parmigiano cheese and set aside. Crush the black pepper into the mortar and set aside.
      Add the pomegranate seeds to the frying base, stir evenly and season with 2 pinches of salt and a pinch of black pepper (or according to taste). Let them cook gently while you toast the rice.

  • 4.
    Toasting the rice (dry method) and adding it to the frying base

    • Rice (carnaroli)* - 320gr
    • *you can also use other type of rice like arborio or vialone nano.

    • Dry white wine - 60ml (part 2 of 2)

    • One frying pan
    • One wooden spoon or silicon spatula
    • The saucepan with the frying base

      Toasting the rice is absolutely essential for a good and appropriate final result. If its grain would not be going through this process, instead of a risotto, you would be serving a mushy sticky soup. The exposure of each single rice grain to direct heat will seal its pores. During the cooking, the starches will be held back inside the grains which will be maintained whole. This dry method is the more appropriate for this kind of risotto: since the main flavouring ingredient contains a lot of liquid, it would not be able to seal the grains. But rice can also be toasted in a fat with the a frying flavouring base.
      Spread the rice evenly in the frying pan and put it on medium-high heat. Keep stirring and tossing the rice so that all its grains will gradually gain a distinctive pearl-white colour in the centre and slightly translucent edges. When ready, the grains will start resisting the stirring lightly and they will make a tingling noise hitting the pan’s sides (step 4 - pic. A).
      Now, add the wine all at once and stir so it wets the rice evenly (step 4 - pic. B). Keep stirring while the wine reduces, but do not let it dry completely. Since the rice must keep it’s white colour during all this toasting process, consider to reduce the heat under the pan.
      Immediately add the rice to the saucepan with the pomegranate seeds and stir evenly (step 4 - pic. C).

  • 5.
    Cooking the rice

    • The pomegranate seeds base in the saucepan
    • The boiling stock
    • Pomegranate juice - about 60ml of it [part 1 of 2]
    • One wooden or silicone spatula
    • One ladle

      Make sure the stock is boiling intensely and let the rice and pomegranate seeds mixture cook for a minute (20 seconds each 100gr of rice) so the aromas will sink into the rice grains and the wine will evaporate completely.
      With the heat still set on low power, pour in about three ladles of stock, so this will barely cover the rice.
      Let it gain the boiling again stirring continuously, while the rice grains gradually absorb the liquids (step 5 - pic. A).
      
Keep adding stock ladle by ladle, making the rice absorb it each time (the stock must be kept boiling, otherwise it will drop the temperature of the mixture and block the cooking). Carefully increase the heat gradually.
      
Depending on the type of rice you are using, the cooking will take from 15 to 18 minutes and you will end up with a creamy but steady mixture.
      Halfway in the cooking process, start adding both stock and about 60ml of pomegranate juice so the low temperature of the juice will not block the cooking (step 5 - pic. B). Keep aside about 10ml or 20ml of pomegranate juice.
      Check if the rice is cooked: it must be “al dente”. Which means that the grains have to be cooked right to their core, but they still can put up resistance to your chewing. If it tastes still raw and it is too crunchy, carefully add some more stock.
      
Check the seasoning, correct the salt if necessary and stir.

  • 6.
    Binding the risotto with butter, cheese and pomegranate juice

    • The cooked rice
    • The crushed black pepper
    • Butter - 35gr [part 2 of 2
    • Pomegranate juice - about 10 to 20ml of it [part 2 of 2]
    • The grated parmigiano cheese
    • One big wooden spoon or silicone spatula

      Get the saucepan off the heat. Let the rice rest for about one minute and a half: ratio should be: one minute every kilo of risotto (step 6 - pic. A).
      Then, add the butter and the black pepper and stir allowing the fat emulsifying with the starchy liquor.
      Use the spoon or the spatula to bring the rice from the outside to the centre in large circular movements, collecting it from the bottom and moving it to the top (step 6 - pic. B).
      Then, add the pomegranate juice to the risotto and stir again (step 6 - pic. C).
      Then, add the cheese to the risotto and stir again. The mixture will gain consistency becoming creamy and billowy or “all’onda” as we call it in Italian (step 6 - pic. D). If you think it’s still too thick, gradually add small amounts of stock and stir again.
      Allow it to rest for no more than one minute and then serve it.

Instructions

  • 1.
    Putting the stock to boil and frying the brunoise base

    • Vegetable stock* - 1,8lt (see recipe here)
    • *in alternative, 1,8lt of boiling water and one and a half or two stock cubes or gel portions. Melt the cubes or gels in boiling water and sieve before use to clean it from undesired pieces of vegetables. Also reduce the amount of salt that follows.

    • Salt **- 9gr
    • **reduce to taste if you are using stock cubes or gel portions.

    • Salt - 9gr
    • Butter - 40gr [part 1 of 2]
    • Sweet Onion - 60gr
    • Shallots- 60gr
    • One small saucepan 2-3lt
    • One paring knife
    • One sharp chef knife
    • One chopping board
    • One 4-5lt saucepan

      Put the stock to boil and season it with salt: the 9gr should be just enough, but do it according to your personal taste.
      Put the larger saucepan with the 40gr of butter on a low heat and let the butter melt completely.
      Meanwhile, with a paring knife, clean the roots of both the onion and the shallots, then finely cut them into a nice brunoise.
      Add the brunoised onion and shllots to the melted butter, stir evenly and let them sweat and fry gently.

      Note about cutting the onion into brunoise

      With a paring knife, chop off the tip of the onion. Clean the roots, halve it and peel off the tunics. Put each half facing down on a chopping board. With either the paring knife or the tip of the chef knife, make vertical cuts - 2millimeters apart from each other - driving the tip of the knife as close to the roots as possible. Hold the onion together with one hand’s fingers, get the chef knife and with a fulcrum movement complete the mincing with narrow cuts.

  • 2.
    Preparing the pomegranate’s seeds and joice

    • Pomegranates - 3 large to be used as it follows:
    • Pomegranate seeds - about 180gr (2 large pomegranate)
    • Pomegranate juice - about 70-80ml (one large pomegranate)
    • One orange squeezer
    • One small bowl
    • One small receptacle

      Open 2 of the large pomegranates and and collect all their seeds into a small bowl. Make sure to leave aside any remnants of their whitish membrane.
      Then halve the third pomegranate and extract all its juice with the squeezer. Set aside.

  • 3.
    Frying the seeds, grating cheese and crushing the black pepper

    • The frying base of shallots and onion
    • Dry White Wine - 20ml [part 1 of 2]
    • Parmigiano cheese - 70gr
    • Black pepper corns - 2gr
    • The pomegranate seeds -about 180gr
    • Salt - 2 pinches or to taste
    • One grater or zester
    • One pestle and mortar

      When the brunoise has soften completely and has gained a golden colour, add 20ml of dry white wine to it and let it reduce completely.
      Grate the parmigiano cheese and set aside. Crush the black pepper into the mortar and set aside.
      Add the pomegranate seeds to the frying base, stir evenly and season with 2 pinches of salt and a pinch of black pepper (or according to taste). Let them cook gently while you toast the rice.

  • 4.
    Toasting the rice (dry method) and adding it to the frying base

    • Rice (carnaroli)* - 320gr
    • *you can also use other type of rice like arborio or vialone nano.

    • Dry white wine - 60ml (part 2 of 2)

    • One frying pan
    • One wooden spoon or silicon spatula
    • The saucepan with the frying base

      Toasting the rice is absolutely essential for a good and appropriate final result. If its grain would not be going through this process, instead of a risotto, you would be serving a mushy sticky soup. The exposure of each single rice grain to direct heat will seal its pores. During the cooking, the starches will be held back inside the grains which will be maintained whole. This dry method is the more appropriate for this kind of risotto: since the main flavouring ingredient contains a lot of liquid, it would not be able to seal the grains. But rice can also be toasted in a fat with the a frying flavouring base.
      Spread the rice evenly in the frying pan and put it on medium-high heat. Keep stirring and tossing the rice so that all its grains will gradually gain a distinctive pearl-white colour in the centre and slightly translucent edges. When ready, the grains will start resisting the stirring lightly and they will make a tingling noise hitting the pan’s sides (step 4 - pic. A).
      Now, add the wine all at once and stir so it wets the rice evenly (step 4 - pic. B). Keep stirring while the wine reduces, but do not let it dry completely. Since the rice must keep it’s white colour during all this toasting process, consider to reduce the heat under the pan.
      Immediately add the rice to the saucepan with the pomegranate seeds and stir evenly (step 4 - pic. C).

  • 5.
    Cooking the rice

    • The pomegranate seeds base in the saucepan
    • The boiling stock
    • Pomegranate juice - about 60ml of it [part 1 of 2]
    • One wooden or silicone spatula
    • One ladle

      Make sure the stock is boiling intensely and let the rice and pomegranate seeds mixture cook for a minute (20 seconds each 100gr of rice) so the aromas will sink into the rice grains and the wine will evaporate completely.
      With the heat still set on low power, pour in about three ladles of stock, so this will barely cover the rice.
      Let it gain the boiling again stirring continuously, while the rice grains gradually absorb the liquids (step 5 - pic. A).
      
Keep adding stock ladle by ladle, making the rice absorb it each time (the stock must be kept boiling, otherwise it will drop the temperature of the mixture and block the cooking). Carefully increase the heat gradually.
      
Depending on the type of rice you are using, the cooking will take from 15 to 18 minutes and you will end up with a creamy but steady mixture.
      Halfway in the cooking process, start adding both stock and about 60ml of pomegranate juice so the low temperature of the juice will not block the cooking (step 5 - pic. B). Keep aside about 10ml or 20ml of pomegranate juice.
      Check if the rice is cooked: it must be “al dente”. Which means that the grains have to be cooked right to their core, but they still can put up resistance to your chewing. If it tastes still raw and it is too crunchy, carefully add some more stock.
      
Check the seasoning, correct the salt if necessary and stir.

  • 6.
    Binding the risotto with butter, cheese and pomegranate juice

    • The cooked rice
    • The crushed black pepper
    • Butter - 35gr [part 2 of 2
    • Pomegranate juice - about 10 to 20ml of it [part 2 of 2]
    • The grated parmigiano cheese
    • One big wooden spoon or silicone spatula

      Get the saucepan off the heat. Let the rice rest for about one minute and a half: ratio should be: one minute every kilo of risotto (step 6 - pic. A).
      Then, add the butter and the black pepper and stir allowing the fat emulsifying with the starchy liquor.
      Use the spoon or the spatula to bring the rice from the outside to the centre in large circular movements, collecting it from the bottom and moving it to the top (step 6 - pic. B).
      Then, add the pomegranate juice to the risotto and stir again (step 6 - pic. C).
      Then, add the cheese to the risotto and stir again. The mixture will gain consistency becoming creamy and billowy or “all’onda” as we call it in Italian (step 6 - pic. D). If you think it’s still too thick, gradually add small amounts of stock and stir again.
      Allow it to rest for no more than one minute and then serve it.

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Ruby-red risotto with Pomegranate - Risotto alla Melagrana
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