Risotto di Lambrusco e agnello (Lambrusco risotto with lamb)

June 8, 2016 (Last Updated: January 11, 2019)

Recipe from the Gemelli feature in our September 2016 issue (pages 94 – 100)

Risotto di Lambrusco e agnello (Lambrusco risotto with lamb)

Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 2 - 3 hours


  • 2 garlic bulbs (ensure that the cloves are firm)
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 5ml (1 tsp) Maldon Sea Salt
  • 200g crème fraîche
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) roasted garlic paste (see recipe)
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh chives, finely chopped
  • Maldon Sea Salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50ml canola oil
  • 20g (10 tbsp) fresh basil
  • 10g (3 tbsp) fresh chives
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml fresh cream, whipped
  • Maldon Sea Salt, to taste
  • 4 x 200g lamb loin portions
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) roasted garlic paste (see recipe)
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) wholegrain mustard
  • 5g (2 tsp) fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 5ml (1 tsp) Maldon Sea Salt
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) salted butter
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5ml (1 tsp) roasted garlic paste (see recipe)
  • 80g porcini mushrooms, chopped
  • 160g Arborio rice
  • 125ml (½ cup) Lambrusco/dry red wine
  • 1L (4 cups) vegetable stock, freshly prepared
  • 100g asparagus, chopped, blanched and refreshed
  • handful fresh spring peas, blanched and refreshed
  • 80g drunken Grana Padano/Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • 55g (¼ cup) salted butter
  • Maldon Sea Salt, to taste



1. For the roasted garlic paste, preheat the oven to 120°C. Lay out a sheet of foil in a small roasting tray. Place the garlic bulbs onto the foil, drizzle with the 30ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil and season with the Maldon Sea Salt. Enfold the foil to create a little purse and roast the garlic, 2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove the garlic cloves individually and squeeze the smooth garlic paste into a small bowl. Add a little extra virgin olive oil and salt to create a pliable paste. Set aside until needed.


2. For the garlic and chive crema, combine the crème fraîche, garlic paste and chives. Whisk the crema until well combined and season to taste. Keep in the fridge until needed.


3. For the basil and chive oil, blitz all of the ingredients in a food processor, strain and set aside until needed.


4. For the pea mousse, fill a saucepan with salted water and cook the peas until tender. Refresh in iced water to cool. In a food processor, blitz the peas to a smooth paste with the 40ml extra virgin olive oil and a dash of the salted pea water if necessary. Fold the whipped cream into the pea purée and season with Maldon Sea Salt to taste. Refrigerate until needed.


5. For the lamb loin, preheat the oven to 200°C. In a medium-sized roasting tray, combine all of the ingredients and work into the meat with your hands. Ensure that the lamb is well coated. Set aside, 20 minutes, until it reaches room temperature. As you’re cooking the risotto, pop the lamb into the oven, uncovered, 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest, loosely covered with foil, until the risotto is ready. Carve against the grain into 4 or 5 pieces per loin. Use the remaining juices in the pan and coat the loin medallions well before serving.


6. For the risotto, place a large saucepan over medium heat and soften the butter in 30ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil until foaming. Add finely chopped onion and cook, 5 – 8 minutes, to soften. Add the garlic paste and porcini mushrooms and cook through, a further 5 minutes. Add the Arborio rice to the pan and stir well to coat all of the grains of rice. Deglaze the pan with the Lambrusco and allow the alcohol to evaporate, 5 minutes. Stir the risotto gently and start adding ladles of hot vegetable stock to the pan. Allow the stock to cook into the rice before adding another ladleful. Stir gently, as if massaging the rice. Continue to add stock and stir, 16 – 18 minutes, until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente. Add the chopped asparagus and fresh peas, remove from heat, and add the Grana Padano/Parmigiano Reggiano and butter. Season with Maldon Sea Salt to taste. Set aside to rest, covered, 3 – 5 minutes. Gently stir the risotto one last time. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Serve while still hot.


7. To serve, divide the risotto into four warm bowls and top with the sliced medallions of roasted lamb loin. Serve alongside a dollop of pea mousse and drizzle with the basil and chive oil. Place a small quenelle (small ball) of garlic and chive crema atop the lamb and serve.


Ensure that everything is timed around the risotto. This is the true hero of the dish. Prepare the roasted garlic, garlic cream, pea mousse, and basil and chive oil in advance. Have these standing by to complete the dish.

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