Scented Bergamot Risotto from Calabria

This risotto is made with two products from Calabria, a region in Southern Italy: the bergamot whose taste is less sour but more bitter than lemon, and the red onion of Tropea, of extraordinary sweetness and with a delicate scent.

The Bergamot comes from a short stretch of land in the Reggio Calabria Province, along the Ionian Sea coast. The red onion instead is cultivated in the area around Tropea, a small city by the Tyrrhenian Sea, known for its clifftop historic center, and for stunning beaches.

bergamot risotto 3

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings

  • 320 gr rice Arborio
  • 60 gr butter
  • 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • a small Tropea red onion or a red onion, finely sliced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbs bergamot juice
  • 50 gr grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • bergamot bio zest
  • a handful of pistachios
  • 1 lt vegetable broth: 1 small onion, 1 carrot, 1 stick celery, diced
  • To make the vegetable broth: pour 2 liters of water in a saucepan then add celery, carrot, onion, and salt.  Leave the broth to simmer for about 30 minutes.


In a pan heat olive oil, add the onion and let it sautè very gently, stirring constantly until tender. Pour the rice in the pan, stirring for a few minutes, until the rice becomes translucent.

Pour half of the bergamot juice (its taste is very intense, so we suggest to add a little at a time, to taste), keep stirring all the time until the bitter taste has evaporated.

Add to the rice a ladle of hot broth at a time, cooking over medium heat. The rice shouldn’t cook too quickly, otherwise the outside of each grain will be stodgy and the inside hard and nutty. Stirring all the time, simmer until almost all the broth has been absorbed.  Check the  seasoning and add salt, if needed.  Add the rest of the broth, a ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked. You might not need all the broth. Be careful not to overcook the rice. It should hold its shape but be soft and creamy.

Turn off the heat, add the butter, the Parmesan and mix gently. Check the seasoning and, if needed, add salt and pepper. Cover the pot with a lid and leave the risotto to rest for a few minutes. Finish with the grated bergamot zest (avoid the white bitter part of the zest) and with a handful of crushed pistachios. 


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