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Risotto with Radicchio and Smoked Mozarella

I’m a huge fan of risotto, it is my #1 comfort food. There is nothing like a bowl of creamy risotto and green salad for dinner. Risotto is especially great because it is so easy to customize. I’ve made so many varieties using flavorings like saffron, lemon, red wine and stirring in things like squash, spinach, bacon, and a variety of cheeses. Once you get the basic technique down, it is an easy dish to experiment with— great for the home cook that likes a solid structure with room to play around.

Some people are intimidated by risotto. They imagine the technique is difficult or time consuming- it is neither. Risotto is actually pretty simple and forgiving and easy to pull together for a week night meal. I’m suddenly surprised this is the first recipe for risotto I have posted on L+D. I will have to remedy that soon. If you haven’t tried cooking risotto, this might be a good place to start. This recipe combines sweet golden raisins, slightly bitter radicchio and smokey mozzarella into a very special dish. I love that the radicchio makes everything a pretty pink color.

Like most risottos, this is definitely better when it is served immediately. Everything changes once this has a chance to cool off and it is never the same again. I’m not saying I didn’t eat it the next day, I did. But it is better to turn leftover risotto into risotto cakes, a topic I will try to address soon. This serves 4 as a main course and probably 6 as a starter.

Smoky Radicchio Risotto (from the February issue of Gourmet)

Cover raisins with warm water and let soak 15 minutes, then drain.

Bring broth and 3 cups of water to a simmer in a small saucepan and keep at a bare simmer.

Cook onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil in a 5-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in raisins, radicchio, and rice. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in  1/2 cup of simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer until absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente and creamy, 18 to 20 minutes. Thin with some remaining broth if desired.

Remove from heat. Stir in cheeses and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.