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Recipe: Basilico’s Risotto Alla Pugliese

This luxurious seafood risotto is one of the most popular creations at Basilico since its opening a decade ago.
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Milan in Italy is known for its rich, silky risottos made from prized Carnaroli rice. Growing up close to Milan, Basilico’s head chef Luca Beccalli is no stranger to the art of making risotto. He recalls being put through the paces when learning to cook risotto from his mother. “It took me a while to master this dish. My mother was always nagging about the texture when I was practicing at home because risotto is a very important dish in Milan and it must strictly be cooked al dente,” he says. “You need to be patient when cooking risotto.”

To achieve the distinctive creaminess of a Milanese risotto, the risotto has to be stirred continuously until the right amount of starch is released. “You can tell it is ready when the grain is about 90% translucent, with only a white line in the centre of the grain.”
Regent Singapore's flagship Italian restaurant Basilico celebrates its 10th anniversary this year
Regent Singapore's flagship Italian restaurant Basilico celebrates its 10th anniversary this year

He created this seafood risotto in collaboration with Regent Singapore, A Four Seasons Hotel’s executive chef Angelo Ciccone, incorporating the seafood and citrus that Ciccone’s hometown of Puglia is renowned for. “The combination of lemon and fennel provides a refreshing lift from the creaminess of the fat and starch in the risotto, while still maintaining a comforting mouthfeel,” says Beccalli.

The resulting dish debuted in 2009 and was a hit with diners, becoming one of Basilico’s most popular dishes of all time. In celebration of Basilico’s 10th anniversary, the seafood risotto, along with nine of the restaurant’s other best dishes, will be showcased in its three-course semi-buffet dinner for the month of July.

The Pentolone Di Carne platter for two was created in 2017 and is one of the 10 best dishes being showcased in Basilico's anniversary menu
The Pentolone Di Carne platter for two was created in 2017 and is one of the 10 best dishes being showcased in Basilico's anniversary menu
The signature dishes of the decade include 2012’s Branzino In Cartaccio, featuring sea bass with vongole baked in parchment paper, 2016’s hearty lasagna with 12-hour slow-cooked Wagyu ragout, as well as last year’s carnivorous platter of char-grilled and hay-smoked Wagyu beef Bombetta, lamb chop and pork collar fillet.

Indulge in these dishes at Basilico, then try your hand at recreating chef Beccalli’s seafood risotto with this recipe. He suggests pairing it with a glass of dry Pinot Grigio and saving any leftovers for making arancini — simply shape the risotto into balls, cover with breadcrumbs and deep-fry them.
Risotto Alla Pugliese
Risotto Alla Pugliese
Risotto Alla Pugliese
Serves 4

For the fish stock:
150g sea bass bones
300g lobster shell
200g prawn shell
50g fennel
40g celery
140g ripe tomato
50g carrot
50g onion
20g garlic
2,400ml water

Method:
1. Chop all vegetables and place in a pan with the rest of the ingredients.
2. Boil until the stock water is reduced by half.
3. Strain liquid and set aside for use when cooking the risotto.

For the risotto:
250g Carnaroli rice
1,200ml fish stock
20g spring onion
80ml prosecco
70g extra virgin olive oil
400g lobster
150g asparagus, thinly sliced
160g Queen scallop
160g Tiger prawn
2g fennel seed powder
3g lemon zest
5g dill
10g chive
10g parsley
5g squid ink
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. In a pot, pour olive oil and onions, then add the rice and toast it for 2 minutes.
2. Add half portion of prosecco and let it evaporate.
3. Once all the wine is evaporated, add stock one ladle at a time and cook for about 12 minutes.
4. Add asparagus to the risotto.
5. Cut all seafood into cubes. In another pan, sauté the seafood with garlic. Add the remainder of prosecco, lemon zest and a pinch of fennel seed powder. Set aside.
6. When the risotto is almost ready, add the seafood and cook for another 3 minutes.
7. Remove the pot from the fire and add the fresh herbs, remainder of the extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. To serve, plate with a brush of squid ink and garnish with fresh herbs.

Basilico
1 Cuscaden Road, Level 2
Regent Singapore, A Four Seasons Hotel

For reservations, call +65 6725 3232 or email: basilicogrm.rsn@fourseasons.com.

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