Carnaroli risotto with wild garlic, lemon and ricotta

Danilo Cortellini’s Carnaroli risotto with wild garlic, lemon and ricotta 3

Originally from Abruzzo, a small region of Italy that is rich in culinary tradition, Danilo Cortellini is the Head Chef of the Italian Embassy in London since 2012. 

Before arriving at the Embassy, Danilo trained at Michelin-star level both in Italy, at restaurant San Domenico in Imola and Perbellini near Verona, then in London with three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.

More recently, Danilo took part in MasterChef: The Professionals, fighting his way to the top and ranking as one of the finalists, and appeared on BBC1’s live cooking show Saturday Kitchen. 

For more information visit:  or @danilocortellini.chef on Facebook

He shares with us his expert knowledge:  Once the cooking time of the risotto is up, if you’re happy with the texture remove it from the heat.The last step is called “mantecatura” – with the right movements you can make the risotto creamier and increase its natural ooziness. You should add the grated Grana Padano cheese and butter to the rice now and stir with energy to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy. 

  • Rice type: Carnaroli
  • Servings: 4
  • Preparation Time: 30 mins
  • Cooking Time: 30 mins


  • 250g of wild garlic when in season (when wild garlic is out of season, this recipe works well using rocket salad leaves instead)
  • 100g of onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g of Carnaroli rice
  • 100ml of dry white wine 
  • 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 90g of grated Grana Padano cheese
  • 40g of unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 100g of fresh ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


step 1

Start with the wild garlic puree. Rinse and pat dry the wild garlic, discard only the very large and bulky stalks to use in the stock perhaps and the flowers as garnish if you wish. Everything else can be used. Once dry quickly blanch the garlic in salted boiling water until soft. This will take no longer than 1 minute. Now blizz the garlic in a food processor adding a bit of the cooking water if necessary. You are looking for a puree/paste consistency so be careful with the liquid and don’t stress to much if the paste is grainy, that is the beauty of a rustic recipe.

Follow the same method if using rocket salad leaves when wild garlic is out of season

step 2

Next, gently fry the chopped onion in a small pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 10-15 minutes on low heat, until well golden and caramelized. Keep to one side

step 3

In a large casserole, start to toast the rice on a low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. In this way, the heat reaches the core of each rice grain resulting in more uniform al dente rice.

Keep stirring the rice, so the rice does not catch on the bottom of the pan or burn. When the rice is very hot, pour the white wine in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 15 minutes and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Stir the rice occasionally and keep cooking

step 4

Halfway through the cooking, add the caramelized onion and wild garlic puree to the rice and keep stirring.

At this stage you want to check if the ricotta is too watery as it could mess with the texture of the risotto. Get rid of the water by draining it with a coriander

step 5

Once the cooking time of the risotto is up remove it from the heat. Add the grated Grana Padano cheese and butter and stir to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy. Season to taste and add a splash of lemon juice.

Plate the hot risotto and top with lemon zest, with chunks of fresh ricotta and if you feel like it - a few basil leaves