Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Red Wine Risotto with Barolo DOCG

This romantic and colourful risotto turns out best when prepared with a Barolo red wine from Piedmont region, Northern Italy – so we strongly suggest you to not skimp on it!

The acronym DOCG stands for “controlled and guaranteed designation of origin” and signals that the region where the grapes are grown is fundamental for the wine to achieve its prized round aroma of tar and roses. Because the Nebbiolo grapes that are used to make Barolo have a naturally very acidic taste, for instance, it takes a soil rich in clay deposits to tame the grapes’ tartness.

Letting the ingredients simmer with a good glass of wine is not unusual in Italian cuisine, but in this recipe there’s actually little else to do. The wine is the absolute protagonist of this very refined, very classy dish – so also enjoy a glass whilst you’re cooking!


Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 10 mins + 1h for the broth | Cooking time: 15 mins

  • Carnaroli rice: 380 g
  • Parmesan, grated: 40 g
  • Barolo wine: 300 ml
  • Onions, small: 1
  • Celery stalk: 1
  • Carrot: 1
  • Thyme, fresh: 1 sprig
  • 3 tbsp EVOO – Extra Virgin Oilve Oil
  • Butter, unsalted: 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Peel the onion and cut it in half. Cut the carrot in two or three big pieces, without peeling it; it’s important to wash the carrot very thoroughly. Roughly chop the celery, as well, and quickly brown the vegetables in a big pot with a tablespoon of oil. Add 1l of water and the bay leaf and leave it to simmer on high heat for at least 1 hour.

Clean the other onion and mince it finely; stir-fry it in a pan with the remaining olive oil and, as soon as it becomes translucent, add the rice. Toast the rice for about two minutes on medium heat, making sure to stir it continuously to avoid burning it.

Tip: Toasting the rice will make it less prone to overcooking and it’s an unmissable step when cooking a good Italian risotto.

Pour in the wine and keep stirring until the liquid has been completely absorbed by the rice, then pour in just enough broth to cover the rice. Refill the broth a ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked through; it should take about 20 minutes and the rice should still have a bit of a bite without being too hard. Season to taste and turn off the heat.

Take butter directly from the fridge and add it to risotto whilst it’s still cold. Add grated Parmigiano as well and thyme, stir gently before serving.

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