Friday, July 10, 2009

bison ragu with risotto

in balitmore we have the benefit of a very good local bison farm, gunpowder bison & trading company. bison is an excellent protein. delicious, and lower in fat than beef. the bison at gunpowder is raised hormone free, which means it's even better for you. they deliver, so check out their website!

this is my standard ragu starter, with bison thrown in. i find that it's easier (and cheaper) to make sauce from scratch at home, then to read through the long lists of ingredients on the backs of the jars in the grocery store aisles. plus, my sauce tastes better.

you could eat this over pasta, but why not give risotto a's a better pairing than you think...


1/2 large onion, finely diced

2 large bunches of basil, leaves sliced and stems chopped

olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced

2 cans san marzano tomatoes (28 oz. each)

1 pound ground bison
1.5 cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock - Pacific brand is gluten-free
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (use a microplane if you have one)


to prep: finely dice your onion, chop your basil stems and slice your basil leaves, and very thinly slice your garlic.

add olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) to a large pan and saute the onion, basil stems, and garlic over medium heat until soft. add the bison and saute until browned. if you'd like you can drain off some of he fat, but bison tends to be less fatty than beef. add the tomatoes (be sure to pick through these with your fingers and pull out any skins and any of the basil they pack them with) and their juices and break them up with the back of a wooden spoon. simmer while you are prepping the risotto.

in a small pot heat the stock over low heat. you just need to keep it warm throughout the cooking process.

in a large pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat (it's better if this is lower than you think it should if you are unsure, turn the heat down) add the onion and some salt and sweat the onions until they are glassy. add the rice and stir until it smells nutty, then add the wine. stir until the liquid is incorporated, and then add 1/2 cup of the stock. stir and let the liquid plump the rice. continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until all but 1/2 cup is incorporated. (be sure to stir the rice regularly, and don't let it get too dry...the more you stir it, the more the starches will break down, which is what makes that beautifully creamy sauce.) once there is 1/2 cup of stock remaining, add in the cheese, stir, and then the last 1/2 cup of the stock. turn off the heat and let the residual heat help the rice absorb the remaining stock.

serve the bison ragu over the risotto and prepare to be swept away to a wonderful land where your tastebuds dance and bask in the sun.

as a recent gluten-free eater, risotto has become a staple in our household. i find that it tastes good alone, and also with heaping gobs of sauce. this would be good with any red sauce, and the red sauce could be made with beef, chicken, turkey, or even lamb or veal. look for whatever is fresh and local to you.

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