Rhubarb and mascarpone risotto

Serves 4

You've probably guessed this is a sweet risotto and not a starter – in fact it's rather like a rice pudding – but the idea is that it's made in the same way as risotto, but with a sweet stock instead.

8 medium sticks of rhubarb, trimmed and washed
150g caster sugar
150ml sweet wine
1tbsp grenadine
100g butter
120g carnaroli rice
2tbsp mascarpone cheese
4 amaretti biscuits

Cut 4 of the sticks of rhubarb into 1cm chunks and put to one side. Roughly chop the rest and put into a saucepan with the caster sugar, wine, grenadine and about 1.5 litres of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, pushing as much juice out of the rhubarb as possible. Bring to the boil and blanch the chunks of rhubarb for about 30-40 seconds or until almost tender then remove with a slotted spoon on to a plate.

Melt about 30g of the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan and stir the rice over a low heat for about 30 seconds; gradually add the hot rhubarb stock, about 150ml at a time, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon and adding the next batch when the previous has all been absorbed. Continue adding the stock until the rice is tender then stir in the rest of the butter, mascarpone and blanched rhubarb over a low heat. The risotto should be fairly liquid and just dropping off the spoon easily; add a little more stock if not. At this stage you can leave the risotto in the pan for no more than a few minutes but stir it every so often. Serve in bowls with the amaretti biscuits crunched over the top.

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