Most folk are familiar with radicchio as a salad ingredient, but it's also a great addition to cooked dishes. Its bitterness is a good foil to the rich, creamy fontina-laced rice in this dish. The balsamic vinegar I want you to use is the super-old, super-expensive kind. If you don't have a bottle of extra-vecchio on hand, just use some shaved lemon zest. It won't be the same, but it'll give you that sprightly acidity the dish needs. A lot of risotto recipes suggest that you heat the broth, so that it's warm when you add it to the rice. I usually skip that step: it does slow the cooking down (by about 5 minutes or so), but I have one less pot to wash. —Savorykitchen
4 main dish portions
Arborio or Carnaroli rice
white wine or dry vermouth
Italian Fontina cheese
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
medium head radicchio, shredded, tough core removed
salt and pepper
aged balsamic vinegar or lemon zest
In This Recipe
Cut the dark green tops off the leeks. Cut the white part of the leek in half the long way. Slice the leeks thinly (the short way ), the make small semicircular slices. If the leeks are sandy or dirty, wash and drain them thoroughly.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan (I use a 12”cast iron skillet) and sauté the leeks with a sprinkle of salt until they are softened. Pour in the rice and continue to sauté until the rice starts to turn translucent and you can see the little white dot of starch in the rice grains.
Add the wine to the skillet and stir while it boils away. Add 3 cups of broth to the skillet (it should be just enough to cover the rice – you may need more or less depending on the size of the pan). Adjust the heat so the stock bubbles gently. Stir the rice occasionally. When the stock has been absorbed into the rice, add another 1.5 cups of broth to the skillet and stir it in.
Keep adding broth as the rice absorbs it (you may not need all the broth). Check the rice occasionally for doneness. When the rice is done, there will be just a hint of starchy core and the grains of rice will not be too stiff or mealy. Stir in the cubed fontina, Parmigiano and butter. As the cheese melts, stir in the radicchio. Check seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
Serve risotto topped with either a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar or a sprinkle of lemon zest.