Friday, May 7, 2010

Red wine risotto

A while back I was looking through my friend's blog when I saw her post for risotto with leeks, fennel, asparagus and lemon. Wow- sounded so fresh tasting and delicious! And seeing that I usually make my risotto with mushrooms I figured this would be a nice change of pace.

So I had all intentions to make the recipe as written, and then I realized I had no white wine.  So I used red wine.

Big mistake... kinda.

Did it taste anything like the recipe intended?? Absolutely not.  But was it delicious?? You betcha!

If I could describe its taste it would be coq au vin in risotto form.

Probably a risotto better suited for winter months than summer ones though.

Although I would recommend using "heartier" veggies to go with the red wine risotto.  The fennel provided a nice crunch, but I fear that the delicate flavor of the leeks were lost after the addition of the red wine.  Not to go back to my mushroom risotto, but I do think mushrooms would be a nice complement in flavor.

I'll include the regular recipe, unadulterated by me, since that's what I was originally going for. I suggest you check your wine rack next time to make sure you've got the appropriate colored wine. It makes a big difference!

Buen Provecho,

Spring Green Risotto, from Better Homes and Gardens


1-1/2 Tbsp. good olive oil
1-1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 lb. thin asparagus
10 oz. frozen peas, defrosted, or 1-1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 Tbsp. minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving


1. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the oil, butter, and vegetables. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut asparagus diagonally in 1-1/2-inch lengths and discard tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in the boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

3. When risotto has been cooked for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until rice is tender but still firm.

4. Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside off heat for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 dinner/6 appetizers servings.


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