Grana Padano risotto with figs, hazelnuts and rocket salad

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Grana Padano risotto with figs, hazelnuts and rocket salad


. Difficulty: Medium . Serves: 4 people . Preparation time: 60 minutes . Variety: Rice
If like me you love bold contrasts of flavours, you would definitely enjoy this delight.
A super creamy risotto with seasonal figs, crumbed hazelnuts and umami Grana Padano cheese.
September figs are sweeter and juicier compared to the varieties we get in June; therefore, the pairing works better with Grana Padano Riserva cheese, aged over 20 months. 

Chef’s tip: If you have more rocket salad sauce than you need, keep it in the fridge for a few days and use it as if it was pesto to dress vegetables, pasta or salads.


320g Carnaroli or Arborio rice
12 ripe figs
60g grated Grana Padano Riserva
1 onion (chopped)
30g unsalted butter
1 litre of stock (easily done with the onion trimmings and a piece of Grana Padano rind)
20ml dry white wine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
50ml of balsamic vinegar
30g toasted hazelnuts
Salt and pepper (to taste)

For the rocket salad sauce
50 gr of rocket salad
30 gr of Grated Grana Padano
50 ml extra virgin olive oil


Wash the figs gently and chop the figs. When at the peak at their season, figs are delicious even with the skin on, so there is no need to peel them. The figs skin will actually help in achieving a colorful risotto.

To make the rocket salad sauce, simple wash and dry the salad and blend together with the grated Grana Padano and olive oil until you have a creamy sauce. Place in a squeezy bottle and keep it in the fridge until needed.

For the risotto, gently fry the chopped onion with extra virgin olive oil, the bay leaf and a pinch of salt until soft and caramelised. It will take about 10 minutes. Now add the rice and toast on a low heat, stirring constantly so it does not catch on the bottom of the pan and it achieves a nice golden colour. When the rice is very hot, pour half a glass of the wine in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 16/17 minutes and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Stir the rice occasionally, and make sure the rice is always covered with stock. Do not stir with too much energy as it could break the rice grains.

Two minutes before the end of the set cooking time, add the chopped figs and keep cooking. Once the time is up, taste the risotto and if you’re happy with the texture remove it from the heat. If you want the rice a little bit softer, cook for another minute.

This next step is called “mantecatura”, which means to make the risotto creamier increasing its natural ooziness with the right gesture and movements.

Add the grated Grana Padano cheese and butter to the rice. Stir, with folding motions, to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy. At this stage, add a splash of balsamic vinegar to add a touch of acidity. If the risotto starts to get dry up, add a little bit of hot stock, so as to keep the consistency nice and creamy. Season to taste.

Plate the hot risotto straight away, top with the rocket salad sauce and crumbed toasted hazelnuts and finish with a last touch of grated Grana Padano on the table.
Danilo Cortellini