A Hearty Winter Risotto

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Risotto is famous in Piemonte and is the perfect comfort food. Although I make it year round, I especially enjoy making a pot of Risotto on a chilly winter’s night. At this time of year, I like it to be heartier than usual. The simple addition of carrots and celery does it for me. And because my wife is a vegetarian, you won’t see me using chicken stock.  Vegetable stock produces a darker risotto than vegetable broth and adds to the heartiness factor. Risotto is easy. Here’s my recipe.

Bring 4 cups of vegetable broth to a simmer on the stove top. Keep warm.

In a separate pot, sautee the following in 2 tablespoons of butter (not olive oil) over medium heat:

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 large celery stock, chopped

Once the onions are tender, add 1 1/4 cups of arborio rice to the vegetables.  Stir until the rice grains shimmer and look like little pearls, approximately 2-3 minutes. At this point, add a couple of ladles full of the warm broth – just enough to lightly cover the rice and vegetables.  Add a bit of salt, give it a quick stir and let simmer over medium heat. Once the broth has been absorbed, give the rice another quick stir and then add some more broth and a tad more salt. Continue this practice until the risotto has the desired tenderness.  If you run out of stock, you can add some wine at the end, or some water. I usually have a tiny bit of stock left over. Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan or grana padano, season to taste and serve immediately.

So not to over power the risotto, we drank 2010 Dolcetto d’Alba from one of our favorites, Elvio Cogno. Delicious!

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