There are plenty of cookbook authors, culinary tour leaders, cooking class instructors and tv chefs that I admire, but few who can do all of those things anddevelop recipes for food magazines in off seasons when ingredients and inspiration are so hard to come by.
On second thought, I can only think of one person, and she doesn't just do it all....she does it all really well.Her name is Joanne Weir.
I was just reminded of all her incredible skills and fresh ideas when her e-newsletter popped into my inbox the other day. Here is one of the recipes she features that sounds perfect for a chilly March night...
RISOTTO WITH ZINFANDEL & RADICCHIO from Joanne Weir
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 1/2 cups Rich Homemade Chicken Stock
2 cups Zinfandel wine
2 cups Italian vialone nano rice (or arborio)
2 tablespoons butter
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 small head radicchio, halved, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 10 minutes.
In the meantime over low heat, in a saucepan on the back burner of the stove, bring the chicken stock and 1 1/2 cups water to just below a simmer. In another saucepan, warm the red wine just below a simmer.
Increase the heat to medium, add the rice to the onions and stir until the rice is very hot, just begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, and the rice is completely coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add two ladlefuls of hot red wine and stir constantly until the wine is almost absorbed. Add a ladleful of chicken stock and stir steadily to keep the rice from sticking. Continue to add the chicken stock a little at a time, stirring until the chicken stock is gone. Then continue with the hot red wine. Continue to add the red wine until the rice is at the chalky stage, 18 to 22 minutes. Continue to add wine and stir for an additional 2 minutes, until it is just beyond the chalky stage. If you run out of red wine, use hot water.
Remove the pan from the heat, add another ladleful of red wine, butter, nutmeg to taste, half of the Parmigiano Reggiano, radicchio and salt and pepper. Stir quickly, cover and let sit covered off the heat for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, stir the risotto. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately with more Parmigiano.
TO DRINK: Zinfandel or Shiraz