The film is set in Milan and the surrounding countryside. In Autumn and Winter time it can get so foggy that the landscape seems almost to dissolve. This natural setting perfectly mirrors the characters in the film, who look illusory and frail. Despite all being members of the same family, they are lonely figures, living in their own separate worlds with no emotional bond. The family is comprised of a bored mother, a workaholic businessman father, two spoilt teenagers and a very religious housekeeper.
When released, in the late 70s, the film caused a scandal – as all Pasolini works did. But, while Pasolini is sometimes difficult to read or watch, this is a great film about human relationships, love, family, bourgeois culture and cultural propaganda. An hymn to Eros, the most powerful and mysterious force of all.
To make it, you need:
two big handfuls of young nettle leaves; 2.5 litres vegetable stock; 50g butter; one onion, very finely chopped; 400g Vialone Nano rice; 125ml dry white wine; salt and pepper; 75g cold butter, cut into cubes; 100g Parmesan, grated.
Blanch the nettles in salted boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and put into a food processor. Pulse to a purée, adding a little water if needed to keep it on the loose side. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Melt 50g of butter in a heavy-based pan, add the onion, and cook gently until translucent. Add the rice and stir both to coat it in the butter and to “toast” the grains. Make sure all the rice is warm, then add the wine. Let the wine evaporate until the onion and rice are nearly dry, then add stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly, each time waiting for the liquid to evaporate before adding the next ladle.
After about 10 minutes, add the nettle purée, and carry on cooking, adding stock as you go, until the rice is soft but still al dente (with bite) – the risotto shouldn’t be too “soupy” otherwise, when you add the butter and Parmesan, it will end up too sloppy. Turn down the heat, allow it to rest for a couple of minutes, then, using a wooden spoon, beat in the cold cubed butter and Parmesan. Season and serve.
· Recipe by Giorgio Locatelli, of Locanda Locatelli.