Light vegetarian risotto with grilled radicchio

An easy risotto recipe (with video!), perfect for winter. Carnaroli rice, slowly cooked in vegetable broth, with diced Asiago cheese, grilled radicchio, white wine, butter, and Parmigiano.

how to make an authentic vegetarian Italian risotto

In our home we eat risotto at least once a week, because it’s so easy to make and you can pair it with almost anything you have handy. As you probably know you can make a fabulous risotto by using a rich meat broth and finishing with a ton of butter and Parmigiano. However the challenge comes when you want to make it light.

radicchio is a delicious salad used in Italy for cold and hot recipes like risotto
have you ever wondered what to do with radicchio? make risotto!

 

Here is how to obtain great flavor without the additional calories:

  1. Best quality risotto rice: I use a variety named Carnaroli which is considered the king of rice, but Arborio or Vialone nano is good too. Basically, you need a rice that stays creamy without overcooking and tastes nutty and slightly floral. Low quality rice tastes bland. Keep testing different brands until you find the one you like.
  2. A flavorful stock: I use a mixture of vegetables and an excellent quality organic bullion. If you prefer meat based stock, add a few chicken wings to the vegetables and simmer until tender.
  3. High quality cheese: please use authentic Italian Parmigiano or Grana Padano. As for the Asiago or Fontina, a mild cheddar will do if you don’t have Italian cheese. Mozzarella, even the proper milky one is too mild for this recipe.
  4. Seasonal vegetables: in this recipe I use grilled radicchio, but grilled asparagus, braised artichokes or thinly sliced grilled zucchini work just as well.
  5. Best olive oil: extra virgin with a nice herbal aroma and creamy texture.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • vegetables for stock: 1 onion, one carrot, one tomato, a celery stick
  • 1 organic, low salt bullion cube
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, or other risotto rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 radicchio head
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 120 g (3 ounces) Asiago, Fontina or other mild cheese, diced
  • Salt, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil

Prepare stock:

Bring to boil 3–4 cups water then add the bullion cube and the vegetables for stock, 1 teaspoon salt, cover, and simmer for 20 min.

Grill radicchio:

Prepare a bowl with the finely minced garlic and olive oil. Clean and cut the radicchio in wedges, grill until lightly charred on all sides then toss with the garlic and olive oil mixture and chop with scissors as shown in the video below. Cover to infuse. Reserve a few leaves for decoration if you like.

Make risotto:

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat until melted. Add the onion, sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the rice and stir well. Sauté for another 1–2 minutes, stirring often. Increase heat and add white wine to deglaze. Stirring constantly, let the wine evaporate, then decrease heat to minimum.

Now start adding stock, about 1/2 cup at the time. Stir to incorporate and distribute the rice in an even layer. This way you don’t need to stir the risotto all the time. Once the stock is absorbed, add some more and repeat as before until the rice is al dente, i.e. cooked through but with a bite. This will take about 20 minutes.

Switch off the heat, cover and let the risotto rest for 5 min.

Assemble:

After the rice is rested, turn on the heat again, add radicchio, parsley, Asiago and stir quickly to combine and make it more creamy. Add more stock if necessary. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmigiano and a light drizzle of olive oil, serve at once.

Serves 3–4.

ligh vegetarian risottowith grilled radicchio

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