Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Roasted Radicchio Risotto

When I was a junior in college, I had the amazing opportunity to live in Rome for a year. I met people whom I consider my closest friends. I traveled to more than a dozen countries, and ate incredible food everywhere I went. Weekends in Rome were spent scouring the city for funky shops, hole in the wall restaurants, and cinnamon gelato. During the Christmas break, my mom and sister came to visit for two weeks. It was so fun to show them around the city and the country I had fallen in love with. We decided to meet in Venice and work our way down the country through Florence, and finish the trip in Rome. I arrived in Venice very early the morning they were to arrive. I was giddy with anticipation, not having seen them in four months. I picked them up from their water taxi in Piazza San Marco, then wound us back through the streets to the hotel. We did a quick circle around the neighborhood and settled in for dinner at a dim but stylish restaurant. We got several dishes to share, but the only one I can remember is the risotto con treviso. It was purple from the aurbergine leaves and smooth and buttery. Nostalgia for that dinner, and that trip, propelled me to recreate the dish at home.

I made it with brown rice, however it is traditionally made with arborio rice, and I would not recommend attempting the brown rice version unless you are willing to stand and stir for an hour and a half. I used a pressure cooker which cut the time in half, and left my hands free for other tasks. I also used roasted radicchio, but wilting the raw radicchio in the risotto would also work.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot minced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups short grain brown rice or arborio rice
2 cups red wine
3 cups vegetable stock
2 heads of radicchio
Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 400º. Quarter the radicchio. Place in a pan and cover with one tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 7 minutes. Turn the quarters over and bake for 7 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute more. Add the rice and stir until it is coated with oil, and the rice turns translucent, but for a white center. Add 1 cup of the wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup of stock, and stir. Continue adding liquid as necessary, never allowing the risotto to look dry. When the rice is almost tender, add the remaining wine. Taste for salt and pepper.

Chop the radicchio quarters and add to the risotto. Stir and serve immediately!

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