Cheese is one of those products I cannot get enough of. Having lived in Paris for a better part of 4 years, cheese was always available and in so many different formats and styles. It is the type of ingredient that is just so comforting, unctuous and can elevate any dish to the next level. Be it shaved in a simple salad to bring out a tart flavour to pair with the greens, or in a pasta to create a creamy and nutty consistency or even simple enough melted on a pizza or a sandwich to really hold all those flavours together in your mouth and give you the long string of cheese we just love to pull on with our fingers.

Perfect Italiano is a brand of cheese you will always find in my fridge. They have 4 mascots that represent their 4 different products. I found that this is a great way to get people to interact with food and understand the traditions and story between certain products. They are 4 brothers, Primo, Amadore, Graziano and Illario, all are chefs and all of them have their own personalities and type of cooking. Graziano will be invading the pinoyfoodblog.com and Ilario will be invading the kitchens of my blog nemeses pepper.ph .

I was so happy when I received a letter in the mail the other day asking me to collaborate with Primo and Amadore.

Primo is the eldest of all the brothers and is considered a perfectionist and a traditionalist in the kitchen, he doesn’t consider himself an artist, but more of an artisan and an expert in his craft, his specialties are Italian staples like pizza and pasta and his favourite cheese is the Romano variation.
I thought to myself what is the one dish people always ask me to make a Skill Shop about, that is very often badly cooked and that is actually really simple to make as long as you follow certain guidelines? A strict, traditional and exact Italian Dish? A Perfect Risotto.

Traditional Romano Cheese Base Risotto

You really need to watch the video if you want to understand the technique here.

First, figure out what kind or risotto rice you like, i prefer Ribe, but you can choose from lots of different varieties (And no, you cannot just use regular rice). The popular options are: Ribe, Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli, Maratelli, Padano, Roma, and Vialone Nano.
Next, you need to understand risotto has to be creamy and oozing and not thick and dry, when shaken a good risotto needs to “move like the waves of the sea” and when in a plate, it has to run and fill the plate, not just stay in place.
Finally, don’t use a big sauce pan, use a deep casserole for your chicken stock and a large sautee pan for the risotto.

Ingredients for about 2 people

1 l. of flavourful and intense chicken stock
2 tbps olive oil
1 white onion chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped
1-2 tbsp of herbs chopped (parsley or basil)
150 grams of risotto rice
1 cup of dry white wine (enough to cover the rice ever so slightly)
2 tbsp of butter
50-100 grams freshly grated Perfect Italiano Romano Cheese (or as much as you want, keep tasting)

Simmer the stock. In the large pan, fry off onion and garlic with the olive oil until translucent. Add in rice and toast rice for about 1 mins with herbs, constantly stirring. Add in the wine, stir until wine has been absorbed and the alcohol is gone.

Add 1 ladle of stock, enough to cover the rice and stir, until it thickens. Keep adding and letting it thicken in cycles until the rice is cooked but still has the aldente bite to it. If you need to add more stock for the risotto to be a little less clumped up, do.

Take of the fire. Stir in 1 tbsp of butter and the cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper when needed. Put the lid on and let rest untouched for 2mins. Finish with fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

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