By using just a cup or so of leftover ragu, you can turn a simple risotto into something extraordinary!
Note: For the liquid, use a combination of vegetable stock and water so you don’t overpower the flavor of the sauce. Always keep in mind that more or less liquid may be needed to cook this dish. It’s always better to have too much than not enough.
To prepare your mise en place, place the liquid into a pot, season with the salt (if needed) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and keep hot.
In a separate pot, add the leftover ragu of your choice. Add some of the cooking liquid to the ragu until it has a pourable consistency. Bring the ragu to a simmer and keep hot.
In the meantime, finely dice the onions and garlic.
Note: For this dish, it is important to use rice that is suitable for risotto (see attached drill down).
Measure out the rice, olive oil and white wine. Set aside.
Place the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan and heat over medium to medium-low heat.
Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until soft and translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes. Next, add 1/4 cup of the hot cooking liquid to soften the onions further. Let the cooking liquid completely evaporate before moving onto the next step.
Once the liquid has completely evaporated, turn the heat up to medium-high and add the rice all at once. Stir to coat the rice in the hot fat. Monitor the heat so the aromatics do not burn. Toast the rice for a few minutes until the perimeter of the grains are translucent.
Once toasted, add the garlic and cook, stirring just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze with the wine. Stir the rice until the wine evaporates.
Once the wine has evaporated, start by adding one cup of the hot liquid. Stir often to coax the starches out of the rice. Once almost absorbed, add the ragu and continue to stir. Once the ragu thickens and reduces, go back to adding the hot cooking liquid. Add the next cup of liquid only when the last cup has been absorbed by the rice. Stir frequently. During the cooking process, also make sure to adjust the heat so the liquid is always gently boiling.
Continue to add liquid and cook the risotto until it reaches the al dente stage (or until it is done to your liking). Start tasting the rice for doneness around the 15 minute mark.
Once the risotto has been cooked to your liking, taste it for seasoning. Stir in the butter (or olive oil) and cheese, if using. Cover and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
Just before serving, add a bit of hot liquid to loosen the consistency, if necessary. Plate on warmed dishes. Top with parmesan shavings, red chili flakes and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, if desired. Serve immediately.
Use this template to create other tasty dishes with leftover cups of sauce.