Loto Risotto From Our Farm With 5 Different Basil Varieties And White Merlot

Thanks to Chef Othmar Schlegel of the Hotel Castello del Sole in Locarno for this delicious recipe.  I’ve visited the hotel on several occasions and have always enjoyed a warm welcome, excellent food, and the breathtaking scenery that the hotel’s situation on the banks of Lago Maggiore afford it.  The farm in the title of the recipe is the Terreni alla Maggia where the rice is grown.

Ingredients for 4

40 g  oil

240 g  Loto risotto rice from Ticino

1  small shallot, finely chopped

100 ml  white Merlot

800  ml  vegetable bouillon

50  g  butter

100  g  grated parmesan

 5 different basil varieties, pluck 2/3 of the leaves, use the rest for garnish. For example, Genovese basil, curly basil, purple basil, small leaf basil, lemon basil etc.

Chef Othmar Schlegel of the Castello del Sole

Chef Othmar Schlegel of the Castello del Sole


  1. Sauté the shallots in the oil, season with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Add the rice and cook for a short while. Deglaze with half the white wine.
  3. Gradually add the boiling bouillon and gently simmer for 16-20 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Once the risotto is al dente, remove from heat and add the remaining wine, mix in the butter, basil and the grated parmesan.
  5. Leave to stand for 2-3 minutes, add more seasoning if necessary.
  6. Serve the risotto on hot plates and garnish with the remaining basil leaves.


 Add a few additional leaves of lemon verbena to give the dish a wonderful summery feel.

The risotto should be al dente – but not hard – and nice and flowy “alla onda”.