Risotto with Zinfandel and Radicchio

During my last visit to the Veneto region in Italy, which is reknowned for it's rice, my students and I made a version of this risotto using the local Amarone wine, instead of Zinfandel.  Risotto is one of those dishes with endless possible variations, so once you have a hang of the basic technique (check out my Basic Risotto recipe and tips here), have fun and experiment!    

Serves 8

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 10 minutes.

In the meantime over low heat, in a saucepan on the back burner of the stove, bring the chicken stock and 1 1/2 cups water to just below a simmer.   In another saucepan, warm the red wine just below a simmer.

Increase the heat to medium, add the rice to the onions and stir until the rice is very hot, just begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, and the rice is completely coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes.   Add two ladlefuls of hot red wine and stir constantly until the wine is almost absorbed.  Add a ladleful of chicken stock and stir steadily to keep the rice from sticking.  Continue to add the chicken stock a little at a time, stirring until the chicken stock is gone.  Then continue with the hot red wine.  Continue to add the red wine until the rice is at the chalky stage, 18 to 22 minutes.  Continue to add wine and stir for an additional 2 minutes, until it is just beyond the chalky stage.  If you run out of red wine, use hot water.

Remove the pan from the heat, add another ladleful of red wine, butter, nutmeg to taste, half of the Parmigiano Reggiano, radicchio and salt and pepper.  Stir quickly, cover and let sit covered off the heat for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, stir the risotto.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately with more Parmigiano.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 1/2 cups Rich Homemade Chicken Stock
2 cups Zinfandel wine
2 cups Italian vialone nano, carnaroli or arborio rice
2 tablespoons butter
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 small head radicchio, halved, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Risotto with Zinfandel and Radicchio