Peanut butter and jelly aside, risotto was the first thing I learned to cook. I like the addition of comforting, warm red wine and beef stock in this variation. Toasted walnuts and Granny Smith apple provide crunch and contrast to the rice. I like the raw bite of uncooked apples, but you could saute them in more butter if you're in the mood to get really wild.
In a move that's decidedly non-Italian, I swirl in creme fraiche at the last moment. It's a gamble and break from tradition that, I believe, in this instance, pays off. —Rochelle Bilow