Risotto with poached pears and Remedium n. 3 – Digestive infusion
Wilden.herbalsis taking its first steps in new gastronomic collaborations: we are spreading the gospel of using infusion and herbal teas in the kitchen thanks to visiting lessons, workshops and masterclasses.
A perfect example is a recipe that we proposed as part of the live cooking show at RistorExpo 2022, conceived and prepared by our chef Francesco Balzola.
The recipe is a risotto cooked by absorption of Remedium n. 3 – Digestive, our herbal tea with a fresh, sweet, round taste creamed with a butter flavored with the same herbal tea. Served with poached pears and lemon zest, also flavored with our Digestive.
How did we come up with an infusion-based risotto
You may not know it but plants and aromatic herbs have always been present in the preparation of dishes: what has been lost is their functionality, especially if linked to well-being.
Our recipe comes from a question posed by Francesco and Nicola Robecchi, the founder of Wilden: “Can the benefits of Wilden blends be extracted in some way?”. We immediately thought of essential oils and aromas that are soluble in water, fat or even in alcohol.
A risotto seemed like an excellent solution to begin with, not only to demonstrate the versatility of infusions in the kitchen but also to give a fresh note to a dish that is traditionally perceived as quite the opposite.
We have replaced the broth with pure herbal tea. By doing so we noticed that the sweet notes of fennel and licorice of our Remedium n. 3 – Digestive come up powerfully, so we suggest counterbalancing them with a savory touch given by the anchovy filets.
Why we chose Remedium n. 3 – Digestive for our risotto
We selected our Digestive herbal tea for its sweetness, freshness and roundness but also for its simple and immediate flavor. It is no coincidence that, in addition to the broth, we wanted to prepare another ingredient for our risotto: a butter flavored with our herbal tea, also added during cooking in the sauté.
We wanted to play with the concept of redundancy (a concept that in gastronomy expresses abundance, fullness, richness and softness): we saw the herbal tea as the protagonist and we aimed for an explosion of infusion in every element of the dish. For a more attenuated result, we suggest using it in only one type of preparation (either butter or broth or syrup): you have the freedom to hack the recipe as you like best.
For the risotto
1 kg Carnaroli rice
250 g Remedium n. 3 – Digestive flavored butter
2 l Remedium n. 3 – Digestive infusion
250 g Parmesan cheese
3-4 anchovy filets (optional)
sale to taste
pepper to taste
For the poached pears garnish
3 spinelli scipiona or spadona pear (recommended for their crunchiness)
200 g white or brown granulated sugar
200 g water
5 g Remedium n. 3 – Digestive herbal tea
For the poached pears (better if prepared a day in advance):
- put 200 g of water, 200 g of sugar and 5 g of herbal tea in a saucepan and turn on the heat over low-medium heat;
- with a clean wooden spoon, mix until boiling; the longer on the fire, the denser it will be. We let it boil for 5 minutes for a perfect result;
- put the syrup aside until it reach room temperature and then filter it with a sieve;
- cut the pears into small cubes and add them to the syrup. If you have a vacuum machine, use it to extract the oxygen from the pear and allow the syrup to permeate undisturbed.
For the herbal tea broth:
- put a pot with 2 liters of water on the stove and wait for it to boil;
- then turn it off and add 10 g of Remedium n. 3 – Digestive;
- wait 10 min and our risotto broth is ready to use. A tip: when you wet the risotto, help yourself with a sieve to filter the herbal tea.
For the risotto:
- put a saucepan on the stove with 50 g of flavored butter: let it melt, add a pinch of salt and pepper and add 2 soup spoons (4g) of herbal tea;
- over medium heat, add the rice and stir until it is well toasted and translucent, being careful not to let the herbs in the herbal tea burn;
- wet the risotto with the herbal tea infusion and start counting: it will take 16-17 min if you like it al dente, 1 or 2 min more if you prefer it well cooked;
- continue to pour the infusion from time to time when the rice begins to dry: a good way to understand if it is not too dry is to move the saucepan and see if the rice moves evenly;
- when the rice is ready, there’s the most important part: the creaming! It is an almost religious operation that takes place strictly with the fire out. Add butter and Parmesan cheese and mix vigorously so that the rice starches, fats and Parmesan bind to make the risotto super creamy;
- if necessary, add salt to taste;
- wait 1-1.5 minutes and the risotto is ready to be served.
- Arrange a ladle and a half in a flat plate or in a soup plate;
- tap the bottom of the plate with the part of the hand between the wrist and the palm to make the risotto evenly distributed;
- put the diced poached pear in the center or well distributed on the plate (we recommend you to drain it because the syrup is very sweet and aromatic);
- mince the anchovies and put one or 2 small pieces near each pear cube: this way the sweet notes of the crunchy pear will create a magical encounter with the enveloping flavor of the anchovies;
- grate the lemon zest on each plate and add a sprinkle of pepper;
- serve at the table and enjoy the explosion.
What are the flavors that emerge from a risotto made with Remedium n. 3 – Digestive
Our chef Francesco is very precise in the description: “enveloping, sweet, round and deep flavors touch the deep sides of the tongue with notes of licorice with herbaceous but never bitter tips of sage, mint and lemon balm” – which is exactly the taste of a first sip of Remedium n . 3 – Digestive in the first moments of hot infusion.
The pear gives crunchiness, freshness, and sweetness. Another curiosity: this is a risotto with very little salt: the saline component is given above all by parmesan and anchovies (here optional but which ideally completes the dish with the right savory notes).
How to combine an infusion-based risotto
Digestive-based risotto is perfect with a wine with peaks of acidity that dampen and degrease the sweetness of the Remedium plants (we recommend Barolo, Chianti and Barbaresco), with a drop of Gorgonzola instead of anchovies or lampascione (a bulbous plant whose flavor is reminiscent of onion) or , for extremes, a siphon of Remedium n. 7 – Detox or Remedium n. 4 – Hangover where the bitter notes emerge.
Last tip: because of its sweet component, you could make smaller portions or mini-tastings. Or, if you dare, (and who knows, it might even be a new evolution of the recipe!), make it a dessert. And now it’s your turn: if you try this recipe, tell us and tag us on social media – we want to know what you think of it!