1 1/2 medium heads of radicchio
4 Tbsps olive oil
salt and pepper
1 medium yellow onion
2 quarts chicken stock
1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsps butter
Trim the radicchio, tearing off any bruised or damaged leaves and cutting off any root or stem. Cut the radicchio into 9 wedges and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and a little salt. Grill the radicchio wedges over medium fire till they are wilted and lightly colored but not charred. When they are cool enough to handle, chop them coarsely and set aside.
Peel and cut the onion into small dice. Heat the chicken stock. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tbsps of olive oil and cook the onion over medium heat until it is translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and a pinch of salt. Make sure the rice is lightly coated with oil and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until it has turned slightly translucent. Keep stirring, turn up the heat and pour int he white wine. The pot will boil violently and the wine will almost completely evaporate. Add just enough hot stock to cover the rice, stir well, and reduce the heat.
Keep the rice at a gentle simmer. As it absorbs the liquid, add more stock a ladle or two at a time, to keep the pot simmering at level just above the rice, stirring before and after every addition. After 15 minutes, the rice kernels will be nearly cooked but still slightly crunchy in the middle. Stir int he radicchio, the vinegar, and the butter and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes. Taste for texture. If the rice is not quite cooked and is becoming sticky, add a little more broth. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
The finished risotto should be creamy and almost pourable, neither dry nor soupy. The rice should be somewhat chewy and firm, neither crunchy nor so cooked that the kernels have split. Serve the risotto immediately, garnished with more black pepper freshly ground over it.
Serves 4 to 6
Recipe adapted from Chez Panisse’s ‘Vegetables Cookbook”