Red radicchio and smoked cheese is another classic risotto recipe. Red radicchio recipes are very common in North East of Italy (Veneto region), especially in the Treviso province, where more or less every restaurant or osteria has its own radicchio based recipes repertoire. There are many varieties of red radicchio; probably the most famous are the "radicchio rosso di Treviso", the "radicchio rosso di Verona" and the "radicchio rosso di Chioggia"; anyway despite all these varieties, just get what you have available from your greengrocer. About the smoked cheese, usually in Italy we use the "scamorza affumicata" cheese, but since I live on the West Coast of Scotland (Ayrshire), I cannot resist using our local produce, the "oak smoked cheddar cheese" from Isle of Arran; with this kind of cheese the risotto is absolutely wonderful.
Anyway, before you try this recipe, I suggest you should also read the "Parmigiana risotto" recipe featured in the risotto section of the website, since it shows the fundamental technique for making risottos.
Ingredients (Metric & Imperial measurements):
Nutrition facts: Calories 650 per serving.
Ingredients (U.S. measurements):
First and foremost, before you start cooking, be sure that the first thing you do is prepare the stock so that it is readily available when required. The best thing to do is to have the stock just simmering, and no more, on the cooker.
Separate the radicchio leaves, wash them, dry them and remove the hard white core part of the leaves. You should get 150 g (5 1/2 ounces) of leaves (only the red part as shown in the photograph).
Chop the leaves, possibly making long and thin strips.
Cut the cheese into very thin slices.
Put 50 g (2 ounces) of the butter in a large pan and melt it (keep the remaining butter for later).
Add the finely chopped onion.
Sweat the onion over a medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until it is soft.
Then, add the radicchio.
Wilt the radicchio for 2-3 minutes; you will see that it will reduce its volume by about 1/3.
Then, add the rice...
...and stir until the rice is completely coated with butter. You can see that the rice will start to become translucent. Keep stirring and sweat the rice for a minute or two.
Then, add the white wine, keep stirring and...
...let the wine evaporate (it will probably take a couple of minutes).
Now, add the stock and turn the heat to medium/low. The stock, which is kept simmering in order to stay hot, should be added at the rate of a couple of ladlefuls at a time and when this is absorbed, add more stock. Carry on in this way for about 15 minutes. During this stage, do not leave the pan alone and stir regularly (gently).
After 15 minutes, you will probably need an extra 3 to 5 minutes to complete the final stage of cooking (this time depends on the type of rice you are using). From now on, taste the rice every minute until the rice is cooked “al dente” (this means that the rice is tender outside, but still slightly firm to the bite in the centre). At the same time, the tasting will tell you if you need to adjust seasoning with salt. Regular but gentle stirring is required for the last minutes in order to avoid the risotto sticking to the bottom of the pan.
In these last minutes, if the stock is completely absorbed, you can gradually add a bit more (say a half ladle at a time) because at this final stage you do not want the risotto becoming too watery.
At about 1 minute before you put the cooker off, add the slices of cheese.
Stir for few seconds until the cheese is completely melted.
When the rice is perfectly cooked "al dente", put the cooker off and add all the remaining butter (cut into pieces) and stir until completely melted.
Cover the pan with a lid for about 1 minute and allow the risotto to rest before serving it.
Risotto should be served "all'onda" (like a wave). This means that when you serve it onto the plate, it should still flow a little.
Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.
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