Al dente, delicious and local: here’s how to make the perfect Ticinese risotto that packs an extra punch. What’s the secret? Rice grown in our region, on the delta of the Maggia river, for a risotto that is 100% Ticinese.
A family tradition: risotto made its appearance on tables in Ticino centuries ago, long before rice was cultivated in the Lake Maggiore region.
In homes as well as on the menus in grottoes and gourmet restaurants, risotto is a dish that never disappoints because it can be made in a thousand different ways. In families it is even cooked more than once a week, with a ritual that changes from home to home, because, it goes without saying, every family has its own recipe for making the perfect risotto. Here’s ours: 100% Ticinese because it only uses typical products from our region, including the rice.
Risotto Loto “Brutti ma Buoni” with mushrooms Serves 4:
40 g olive oil
240 g Loto rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
200 g variety of fresh mushrooms, chopped
20 g dried porcini, soaked in a bowl of water
100 ml white wine, Merlot bianco of Ticino DOC
800 ml chicken stock
50 g butter
100 g grated Parmesan
Brown the onion in the olive oil, add the chopped mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes before adding a pinch of salt and pepper. Add to the rice and toast it lightly. Soak in half the white wine and add the chicken stock (hot). Allow the rice to cook for around 18 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the remaining wine. Add the butter and finally the Parmesan. Allow to stand for 3-4 minutes then season to taste. The risotto must be “al dente” but not hard, it must also be soft and slightly liquid “all’onda” (not too dense).
The first 100% Swiss rice has been produced since 1997 by the Azienda Agricola Terreni alla Maggia SA in Ascona. The collapse in the prices of cereals, fodder and soya bean crops led the farm to try niche crops such as rice, durum wheat and polenta corn.
Thanks to Ticino’s traditional demand for risotto and the high quality of the rice, by 2010, what had initially been just two hectares now covered an area of 90 hectares.
Rice grown here belongs to the Loto variety: an oval-shaped, elongated (non-pearly) grain that is tasty and consistent. It is best suited to risottos, side dishes and salads as it is hard to overcook.
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Did you know?
Sowing takes place in April and threshing in October, with a “dry” method of frequent sprinkling, although the soils are very sandy and gravelly. According to Climatop, rice from the Terreni alla Maggia is among the most climate-friendly of all those grown in Switzerland.