When two cultures meet - a liver risotto that is a perfect marriage between Portugal and Italy

I'm still on a liver roll, I may just as well say it. There. I'm also on a risotto high, because we kind of went crazy and bought this enormous bag of arborio rice that was half price. So, we decided we need to cook plenty of risottos and have made Friday night into our risotto night. I am cooking risotto every Friday for the next couple of months, I guess, and although so far I have plenty of ideas on risottos I want to try, I'm quite sure these will end up dwindling... I only hope inspiration for cooking does not run dry before the rice has all been used!

Sure, I'll be recooking old staples like this romanesco risotto that was out of this world; or this seafood risotto that was pretty good as well. I won't be cooking an asparagus risotto, although it is one of my favourite, because, well, asparagus are not in season, are they? But I have squash, so I might as well cave in to this butternut risotto that was one of the best we ever had. And there will surely be some space left for a squid risotto, which was for sure one of the best things I ever came up with. It is still my favourite, no matter what.

There's a few more ideas in my head, like cod risotto, pea risotto as well, which I only tried once and loved so much, spinach and rabe risotto, though I have used both vegetables on this one already. There's quite a lot of combinations, and in the end I can always go back to the most cooked risotto here at home - it's kind of our fast food, although it's not that fast to cook, but I can do it with both eyes closed - the mushroom risotto. So there'll be plenty of risottos to eat, and I hope to share as well, if the mad ideas I have do pan out.

This particular risotto is from last Friday, I am cooking a different one tonight. It was kind of a wild card, this one, a thought that came into my head and that I ran through my husband who agreed it could just work very well indeed. I only told him of the liver, see, I kept the vegetables to myself because I know he always frowns, although he ends up eating his greens. I hadn't really settled on the greens when I thought it up, but I later figured out they would be perfect with the liver strips. And I wasn't wrong.

It's kind of a silly fusion dish, in the end, but one that seemed to work out fine here at home. The rabe and the spinach go so well with any rice, and they are the perfect complement for the liver. Rabe is such a portuguese thing to eat - traditionally with fish, though I will have it even by itself, that's how much I like it! - and so is liver. But then there's the cheese and the rice, both of them all italian, and there's the cooking method and the seasoning, taking from both countries and joining together in what ended up being a quite perfect marriaged of the senses and the flavours.

So here we go:
  • 1 l chicken stock
  • 1 handfull of rabe leaves
  • 1 handfull of spinach leaves
  • 1 glass of cognac or brandy - I used portuguese aguardente, with juniper
  • 1 cup carnaroli or arboreo rice
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 250 gr liver steaks, cut into thin strips
  • 3 cloves of garlic + 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • olive oil
  • a dash of white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • grated parmigianno or grana padanno - a large handful will do
Begin by cutting the liver steaks into small strips and seasoning them with two of the garlic cloves, the bay leaves, salt, pepper and the dash of white wine. Let the flavours steep for at least twenty minutes. In the meantime, move on to the risotto per se: on a pan heat up the chicken stock and once it's simmering turn down the heat. Throw in the spinach and the rabe and let it rest. On another pan heat the olive oil and stir fry the leek and the last clove of garlic until tender. Add the rice and stir, making sure you coat every grain of rice with the olive oil. Once it starts to dry up and sizzle, pour the brandy and let it simmer, while stirring constantly. Once it's dry, start addin laddle after laddle of the stock with the greens, stirring all the time so the rice does not burn nor stick to the bottom of the pan. Remember to only add another laddle once the previous one has all dried up. Bring a frying pan to the heat with a glug of olive oil and gently fry the liver strips with all their seasoning. Once they're done, reserve. As soon as the rice is cooked, add the grated cheese to it and stir. Now add the liver strips, mixing them well, their juices and all. Cover with a lid and let it rest for at least five minutes. Serve with a good full bodied red wine, or a dry white one, I do think dry whites go so well with liver, call me crazy!! Enjoy this fusion risotto as much as we did!


  1. Sabes que adoro estes casamentos? São geralmente os mais felizes, combinar duas cozinhas numa perfeita harmonia e aqui não tenho dúvidas, iria adorar provar este teu risotto :)
    Beijinhos ...
    Blog: Guloso qb

    1. Mas ás vezes corre mal, eheh, já m aconteceu!

  2. Figado faz-me bué impressão mas grelos, sim senhora, all in favour!

    1. oh eu adoro, mas conheço mta gente q tb n suporta!!

    2. eu acho que é do cheiro ao ser cozinhado sabes? tenho problemas com tripas pelo mesmo motivo!


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