About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Risotto with Spring Vegetables, Tomato, and Basil | Main | Risotto with Clams »

Risotto with Vegetables and Red Wine

Close your eyes and think of a perfect world . . . in this world you have a freezer full of Marcella's wonderful meat broth. You then use some of this broth to make the wonderful Novara bean soup (featured on May 8th). As wonderful as this soup is, imagine you have some leftovers.

In that perfect world make this risotto. I guarantee that you will purr like a kitten.


I've never had a risotto made with red wine. Marcella advises you to use a good red wine. I know that some of you will be tempted to use a bottle from your '2 Buck Chuck' wine cellar. Ignore that particular temptation. One should only cook unsing the same wine that you would drink. Now, if you would normally drink '2 Buck Chuck' than I needn’t worry about you as you are likely in line for the buffet at Sizzler and not bothering to cook this amazing risotto.

For the rest of you who care about what you eat and drink - use a good red wine. This risotto is from the Piemonte area of Italy - a barbera or dolcetto would be lovely. If you're as wealthy as Donald Trump use a $ 400 Barolo. Once you've planned the menu don't forget to invite ME!

This risotto has an unusual ingredient . . . salam d'la duja - a soft donkey meat sausage. Marcella, knowing that most of us in North America would never find this ingredient, happily advises the cook to use any high-quality, tender sausage that is neither too spicy nor garlicky. Have I said how much I really appreciate how approachable Marcella makes her recipes for the average cook? Have I? Apparently I am officially at risk of being redundant.

The risotto recipe is easy to follow. Marcella advises you to stir regularly . . . putting her firmly at odds with those Italian cooks who strongly advise that good risotto is never stirred. No. Not at all. In fact, I have wittnessed full on arguments about this very advice. Italians love a good argument and since no one can understand their politics food makes a wonderful topic for debate.

Frankly this is a debate I will not engage in - stir or not . . . as long as the risotto cooks evenly and doesn't stick what do you care? I think that because our stoves in North America may have hotter cooking temperatures than similar stoves in Italy stirring is a wise idea. I stirred.

For the record - I have always stirred. You're not expected to whirl the rice around in the pan as if you were a human kitchen aid mixer on full speed, a luxurious stir is all that is needed. This ensures an even consistency to your risotto. However, as I said, if you don't want to stir - don't.

When I served this up for dinner Paul looked at it and wondered if I had made a mistake - the risotto was rather red from the wine. He took one bite and KNEW that I had done nothing wrong other then to not give him a larger portion.

This recipe is a prime example of that wonderful skill Italian chefs learned by necessity during the economic upheavals throughout history - reusing leftovers again and again to create new and wonderful dishes. No one will ever suspect that this risotto is made with leftovers. Don't tell them. Bask in the praise!

Comments (8)

Sounds wonderful!


great post!

Marcella Hazan:

Thank you Jerry for this entertaining account of your splendid risotto. If I were still writing cookbooks, I'd ask you to lend me your anecdotal hand. My only disagreement with you is in encouraging those who do not stir to go ahead, it's okay not to stir. It's not okay. It ignores what makes a risotto risotto and not a flavored cooked rice. Regrettably, the two sides of this question can never merge. It is the Guelphs and the Ghibellines again, but I don't remember who won that one. Not the popes, I believe. You give excellent advice when you say that stirring does not require you to become a human electric mixer. It does require that you stand by to replenish the liquid the rice absorbs and to keep the kernels moving, sometimes lethargically, sometimes vigorously, but in motion nonetheless.

Jerry, I was reading your post, along wih Marcella's response, outloud to Dan as we sit poolside at our villa here in Manuel Antonio.
We have Americans, Germans, Irish, and what I thought were Brazilians sitting around us. You know me and my loud voice...they couldn't help hearing me. The Americans listened with interest, and later asked questions about our project. The Germans looked irritated. The Irish mved to the other side of the pool. The Brazilians looked bored until the part about the Barolo. Then their ears perked up. They were Italian. And for the record...they are in Marcella's stirring camp. Another think, it is impossble to explain Two-Buck Chuck!

Ray Anne:

A pleasure to read and, no doubt, a greater pleasure to eat. Thanks.

Jerry, I love the style in which you write, I feel as if we are conversing over cocktails at some fabulous cafe!

Mark and I have had the no stir vs stir debate with many people over the years, as well as carnaroli vs arborio. We have had the doubters over and conducted blind (to them) taste tests. The results have always been the same. Stirring always wins, unanimously. How else can one achieve the creaminess without the friction?

Carnaroli, as well, is a unanimous victor over arborio. If one goes to the trouble of making home made broth and stirring, why not use a superior rice? We occasionally use vialone , it depends upon the ingredients.

Great job!

Irene :

Funny! I must try this.

Jerry you are a brilliant writer... and it is indeed like sitting over a glass of wine and enjoying your exploits in the kitchen.
I wish I were there to share Paulo's portion of the risotto.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 30, 2010 9:27 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Risotto with Spring Vegetables, Tomato, and Basil.

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