While enjoying dinner outdoors during the warm summer months, we picked plump, sweet figs from our tree, and decided to make a delicious fig risotto inside the gas Pizza Oven. The result was a perfect symphony of flavors when Camembert, figs, toasted walnuts and crispy prosciutto were magically united. The secret to a perfect risotto is what in Italian we call "MANTECARE". The starch of the rice is vigorously mixed with a cold fat right at the very end of preparing this iconic Italian dish, which results into a perfectly creamy experience. Let's get started!
Drizzle some olive oil into the preheated pan and add the cubed cured prosciutto or speck. Place back in the oven, stir occasionally and allow it to slightly crisp up.
Remove the prosciutto and add the walnuts into the same pan. Toast the nuts inside the oven until the oils are released. Set the nuts and prosciutto aside for later.
In the same pan, drizzle some more olive oil and add the chopped onions. Allow them to sauté in the oven until translucent. Stir occasionally.
Once the onions are translucent add the rice. Mix everything together and place back into the oven, stirring frequently until the grains of rice are no longer white but translucent.
Pour the wine over the rice and allow it to cook out or "sfumare".
Once the wine is cooked out, begin adding ladlefuls of broth to the rice, stirring frequently and consistently, thus allowing the liquid to absorb. During this time, the rice will release some of the starch which will transform into an almost gelatinous consistency and then become creamy. Each time liquid is added, the same transformation happens.
Stir frequently with each addition of liquid. Continue this process of adding liquid and stirring.
About 13 minutes into cooking the risotto, add the chopped figs and more broth. If the broth is finished add hot water.
Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the rice is cooked but still 'al dente'. Add more liquid as needed.
Remove the pot from the oven and quickly stir in the cold, cubed cheese.
Now it is time to "mantecare" the risotto where you vigorously stir the rice with a wooden spoon, as the cheese melts. The starch of the rice and the fat of the cheese will emulsify and create an incredibly creamy consistency typical to a well made risotto.
Serve the risotto immediately and top it with the crispy prosciutto, the toasted walnuts, and garnish with a fresh fig. To finish it off, top everything with a drizzle of good olive oil. Enjoy!