The first lunch of the wine trip to Lombardia last October featured a risotto with radicchio, scamorza, and Bonarda (red wine). I really liked it and recreated it at home. An important ingredient is the brodo di carne, a mixed meat stock of beef and chicken. You could substitute it with vegetable stock to make this vegetarian and it would still be delicious, but the meat does enhance the depth of flavor and texture of the risotto. Radicchio is red-colored Italian chicory. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with another type of chicory, such as Belgian endive (also known as witlof). Scamorza is a smoked Italian cheese. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with another type of smoked cheese. Bonarda is a red wine from Lombardia. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with another type of red wine.
For 2-3 servings
- 200 grams (1 cup) risotto rice, such as carnaroli or arborio
- 100 grams (about 2 cups) chopped radicchio + a bit more for garnish
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) red wine, preferably Bonarda
- 75 grams (3 oz) scarmoza, diced
- 750 ml (3 cups) homemade Italian meat stock of chicken and beef, without salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 20 grams (1 1/2 Tbsp) butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pour the meat stock into a pot and bring it almost to a boil. Keep it hot but not quite boiling.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide, low, thick-bottomed pan. Add a minced shallot, and stir over medium heat until the shallot is translucent.
Add 100 grams of chopped radicchio.
Stir over medium heat until the the radicchio has wilted somewhat. Season with salt.
Add 200 grams risotto rice.
Toast the rice for a couple of minutes over medium-high heat.
Deglaze with 120 ml of red wine. Regulate the heat such that the wine is boiling gently. Stir until the wine has been absorbed.
When the wine has been absorbed, add a ladle of hot stock.
Stir until the stock has been absorbed, then add another ladle of stock. Keep stirring and adding stock until the rice is al dente, about 16 to 18 minutes.
When you run out of stock before the rice is cooked to your liking, switch to hot water. Taste whether the rice is cooked and all dente: it should not be hard, but not soft either.
When the rice is done, turn the heat to very low. Add another lade of hot stock, 75 grams of diced scarmoza, and 20 grams of diced cold butter. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Turn off the heat, and stir until the cheese and butter have melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Allow the risotto to rest for a couple of minutes.
Serve the risotto on preheated plates, garnished with some raw radicchio on top.
This pairs well with an fruity and aromatic but dry white wine, or a fruity red wine with low tannins such as a Bonarda. A tannic red wine would probably clash with the bitter notes of the radicchio.