A classic comfort dish shifts with the seasons. Kyle Rindinella lets it ripple
Risotto Alla Chianti
4 cups (1 L) Vegetable Broth, heated
6 Tbsp (90 ml) Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Olive Oil
1 Small onion, finely chopped (chopped small enough so that once cooked, the onion resembles a piece of rice)
2 cups (500 mL) Arborio Rice
3 cups (700 ml) Chianti Wine
1/2 cup (120 ml) Grated Pecorino Cheese
Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a large pot and add the onions to cook. Cook the onions just until they become translucent. Add the rice and let it toast for three minutes. Pour in a ladle of red wine and stir to get any rice or onion that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once the wine has been absorbed, add a ladle full of the stock and let it absorb. Continue adding wine and stock, stirring constantly, until the rice is al dente, cooked but firm to the bite (about 20-25 minutes.) Take the pot off the heat and mix in the remaining butter and Pecorino cheese until it “ripples like the sea.” Once served, shave some Pecorino on top.
For me, risottos are the ultimate comfort dish any time of the year. Depending on the time of year, and what is in season, a risotto can be made with strawberries and mascarpone cheese in the summer, root vegetables in the fall or hearty wines in the colder months. Here we have a risotto using Chianti substituted in for half the stock bringing the flavours from the wine into the rice. With the rice you will want to use an Italian rice like Arborio (the kind I used), Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano, all widely available in grocery stores.
The most important part of making a risotto is to go slowly, adding stock and wine by the ladleful and wait until the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. At the end, when you mix in the butter and cheese, make sure the butter is cold and that you mix it all together vigorously. Giorgio Locatelli, of London’s Locanda Locatelli has the best insight into risotto preparation: In order to see when risotto is done, Locatelli said, “you should tip the plate and the risotto should ripple like the sea.” The easiest part about enjoying this risotto is finding the wine that pairs with it. Whatever Chianti you use to cook with, drink the same bottle for the perfect match.