Risotto alla Certosina – lake fish and frog risotto

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This lake fish and frog risotto (known in Lombardy as Risotto alla Certosina) champions ingredients from the region's land, rivers and forests. Packed with unusual ingredients such as frog legs and crayfish, this is a luxurious dish that's sure to impress. The fish stock can be made in advance if you're short on time.

First published in 2018





  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 fennel, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 150g of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 200g of risotto rice
  • 150ml of white wine
  • salt
  • pepper

Fish stock

  • 1 grey mullet, (around 1 kg)
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 fennel, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/4 coriander seeds

To finish

  • 100g of peas
  • 150g of crayfish tails, cooked and peeled
  • 80g of butter
  • 12 frog legs
  • Parmesan, grated (optional)


Begin by making a fish stock. Fillet the mullet then roughly chop the bones, fins and tail and rinse in cold water until free of blood
Sauté the onion, celery, fennel and garlic with a pinch of salt until soft but without colour. Add the bones then cover with cold water and the herbs and spices. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum on the surface and leave to simmer for 40 minutes
Once ready, gently strain the stock through a sieve – try not to disturb the bones too much to prevent it going cloudy. Set aside
To make the risotto, sauté the onion, fennel, celery and garlic with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt
Once softened, add the rice and stir until lightly toasted, about 3–4 minutes. Pour in the white wine and simmer until evaporated, then add a ladle of stock and cook until absorbed. Continue adding ladles of stock and allowing them to absorb into the grains until the rice is cooked al dente
Stir through the peas and crayfish tails, taste and season with salt and pepper. Fold through half of the butter, cover and leave to rest
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a non-stick frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Season the frog legs and add to the pan. Colour until nicely browned and cooked through, basting with the foaming butter, then set aside and keep warm
Portion the mullet into roughly 3 slices per person. Season and cook skin-side down in the same pan for about 4 minutes or until the skin is crispy and golden. Flip the fish over and take the pan off the heat
Divide the warm risotto into 4 bowls and top with the mullet and frogs legs. Serve with grated Parmesan, if desired

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