Friday, March 5, 2010

Risotto alla Trevigiana

Well the way we brave the rain here in Padova is by making a typical Venetian dish- Risotto alla Trevigiana. It comes from Treviso and it's made with radicchio, a leafy vegetable that has a bitter taste that is subdued when it is cooked. Anywho this dish is great if you have some time to cook it and some minions (I mean friends) to help. Which I did- Rosie and Alex.

So we ventured into the world of Risotto with some superfine Arborio rice, wine, grana padana cheese, onion, radicchio and homemade broth. Rosie especially liked learning about my method for making homemade broth. There are recipes you can find online, but I usually estimate-ish with amounts that I'm using based on how the recipe is coming along. This is how I did it:

Risotto alla Trevigiana:
-2 heads of radicchio (chopped randomly in pieces about as big as your thumb- don't feel too stressed about it, says Rosie, and don't chop your thumb, says Alex)
-1 small onion (small dice)
-superfine arborio rice (350 g, approximately 2 cups)
-olive oil (2-3 tbsp)
-white wine (preferably chardonnay or pinot grigio- 1/2 cup)
-homemade broth (recipe below)
-grana padana cheese (grated, about 3/4-1 cup depending on flavor preference)
-1 tbsp butter

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the onion and saute until it becomes soft and translucent (about 5-8 minutes). Then add the radicchio and saute it for a few minutes, then cover with a lid for 3-5 minutes. The radicchio will turn brown, and then a beautiful purple color, so don't worry when it turns brown. Then once the radicchio is very soft and getting quite steamy under the lid, take the lid off and add the rice and stir until it absorbs all the liquid. Once all of the liquid is absorbed add the white wine, and stir constantly until it is absorbed. Then continue adding the homemade broth by the ladle. After each ladle-full, wait until the rice absorbs the broth, stirring continuously. When it's time to add another ladle-full, it will feel like it's getting harder to stir, but isn't completely dry. It's done when the rice becomes al dente (meaning cooked all the way through, yet not complete mush). At the very end when the rice is done, turn the heat off and add the butter and the grana padana. Serve immediately.

Homemade Broth:
-carrots (2-3)
-celery (1 piece cut in half)
-onion (1 small)
-garlic (2 cloves)
-2 tbsp salt
-2 L of water

Add all ingredients into a large pot, and boil for 20 minutes on low heat. During the risotto making process leave it on the heat, continuously simmering.

My friends and I agreed that when we made this, it was delicious apart from the fact that maybe it was oversalted, due to the fact that when I salted the broth, I did it quite liberally (meaning I dumped it from the box for about 3-4 seconds), bad call. Rosie's ears started filling up (whatever that means- Alex). So then we decided that 2 tbsps of salt for the broth would be appropriate, and if when tasting the risotto near the end of the cooking process, it seems not salty enough, you should just add more directly to the risotto. Other than that we confirmed that the done-ness was good and that it was really delicious and beautiful [a wonderful, rich, deep royal purple color (as opposed to the other purple?- Alex)]. This dish would never have been as wonderful without my friends' help and their delicious company whilst eating it. I highly recommend this dish.

Buon appetito!

P.S. thanks for the grammatical help Rosie and Alex.


  1. Sars. You are being a kitchen nazi. Just kidding, no nazi jokes. TOO. SOON.

  2. Sunflower jane...basically the first cook that introduced time for measuring salt!...never thought about it in my entire italian life as a chef. N-U-M-E-R-I;)

  3. HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA to ALL of the above.
    Also, this was delicious except for the salt, which frankly people WATCH OUT! But otherwise I really really liked it!

  4. I've never measured salt in my life (except in baking recipes). Dissolve it into the forming stock and then taste it with a spoon for flavor. haha. Sounds like drinking sea water! j/k.

  5. Just made this for old times' sake -- DELICIOUS!