This is a recipe near and dear to my family. My grandmother made this on Sundays, more or less once a month. When you would ask her how to make something, she would say “fring froung” using her hands to alternately mime putting a dash of this and a dash of that into the pot on the stove.
Riz al crem (pronounced reez al cream) is a dish from the hill towns near Biella, in the foothills of the Alps in the northwest of Italy. The area is known for its rice and polenta dishes. This particular one also adds the wonderful local passion for cream. It is very simple to make and makes people happy.
Buy a 4 lb. chicken cut into pieces. Use the larger pieces to make your broth, skin removed. Do not use wings, save them for another purpose. Cover the chicken with water about 2” to 3” above the chicken. Add 2 peeled carrots, one stalk of celery, and one medium onion, peeled, salt and pepper to taste (taste it later and adjust salt as needed after the chicken is cooked). Cook chicken until completely cooked and remove from broth to cool so you can handle the chicken. Remove all bones etc and roughly chop chicken meat to pieces of 1” or more inches more. Do not chop chicken fine.
Make the rice. Remove vegetables from broth. Bring broth to a low simmer. For 4 people, use 1.5 -2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli Rice. Put 2 tbs. of sweet unsalted butter in bottom a tall pot to make the rice. Add the rice to a pot on low heat, mix with the butter, and once well coated and starting to glisten, add one ladle at a time of broth. Stir briefly to mix broth with rice, add ladle by ladle as broth evaporates, and just before rice is completely dry so it will not scorch.
In another pan, melt 2-3 tbs of sweet butter to preference. Sprinkle a teaspoon of flour into melted butter and whisk to combine. Over a very low flame add one small container of heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste. You can remove from heat and let rest until a couple of minutes before the rice is done.
Keep an eye on the risotto. When the rice is done (slightly al dente) and in a creamy thick sauce made by mixing the broth with the rice, add the chicken to rice and mix to heat. pour into a large bowl, cover with heated cream sauce and bring to the table. Serve immediately.
Top with good grated parmesan cheese, serve with a salad (a caeasar like salad for a nice sharp counterpoint) and bright dry Italian white wine.
Buon appetito. Serves 4