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Duck Risotto with Wilted Spinach
Years ago while visiting friends during Duck Hunting Season in the Veneto region of Italy I was a guest by the Botter family. Their sons just returned from their hunt in the lagoons and Mama Botter decided to make the dish that has been produced by the family for generations. The most interesting ingredient was anchovies but in the end it was well blended into the risotto, but they added a deep and savory flavor.
- 6 cups of Game broth or Chicken broth
- 3 duck breast with fat
- 1 stick unsalted butter or the skin of the duck breasts
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup chopped pancetta or prosciutto
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 4 anchovies, rinsed under cold water and chopped
- ⅔ cup Esser Chardonnay
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups risotto rice, my favorite vialone nano
- 2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, washed
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
Put the broth in a saucepan and keep it at a gentle simmer.
- Pull the fat of the duck breasts and chop it. Chop the duck meat into small pieces.
Melt half the butter (or use the duck fat and skin, and slowly saut? it in the pan for 8-10 minutes until it releases the fat, then remove solids) in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat until soft and beginning to caramelize.
- Add the duck, pancetta, sage, rosemary, lemon zest, and anchovies and cook for 2-3 minutes until changing color, but not browning. Pour in the wine and balsamic vinegar and boil hard for 1 minute to boil off the alcohol. Add two ladles of broth, cover, and simmer very gently for 20 minutes or until the duck is tender.
- Stir in the rice, then begin adding the broth, a large ladle at a time, stirring gently until each ladle has almost absorbed by the rice. The risotto should be kept at a bare simmer throughout the cooking, so don't let the rice dry out or stick to the bottom of the pan. Add more broth if necessary. Continue until the rice is tender and creamy, but the grains still firm (typically 15-20 minutes, read instructions on the package).
- Taste and season well with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, beat in the remaining butter, then stir in the spinach. Cover, move from the stove and let rest for a couple of minutes so the risotto can relax and the spinach wilt, then serve immediately and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of dish.
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