Risotto Radicchio e Pera

I enjoy playing with risotto and its countless variations. Even the traditional Risotto alla Milanese appears in three different versions in the first Italian cookery book  La scienza della cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene, by Pellegrino Artusi. Let's be inventive with this delicious and versatile dish.

Today I go for an End of Winter Risotto, with round radicchio and conference pear.

To curb the natural bitterness of radicchio, I combined it with the red onion, which is sweeter than the white one. I choose a ripe but still firm pear to to preserve both the sweetness and the crunchiness of the fruit. The pear's skin gives a touch of green to the dish.

Risotto Radicchio e Pera
Risotto with Round Radicchio and Pear

350 g Carnaroli rice
30 g butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, very finely diced
250 g round radicchio, quartered, core removed and very finely chopped
100 ml Prosecco wine
Approx 800 ml vegetable stock
100 ml double cream
1 medium conference pear, quartered and finely sliced, skin on
50 g freshly grated Parmesan
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

1.     Bring the stock to a gentle simmer.
2.     In a heavy-based saucepan heat the butter and the oil and soften the onion with a pinch of salt on a low heat for about 10 minutes, until translucent. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent browning.
3.     Add radicchio to the onion and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, covered. Season with salt and pepper.
  1.  Add the rice and sauté over medium-height heat for 3 minutes, stirring continuously until the  outside of the grains becomes translucent and the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. 
5.     Now pour in the Prosecco and stir continuously until the liquid has been almost absorbed.
  1. Lower the heat and add one ladleful of boiling stock at a time. Stir frequently until the stock has nearly been absorbed before adding the next ladleful. It will take about 18 minutes to be ready.
  2. When the rice is cooked (it must be al dente and creamy at the same time), remove the pan from the heat, stir in the cream, half of the sliced pear and the Parmesan cheese. Cover with a tea towel and leave to stand for 1 minute.
  3. Arrange on a hot serving dish and decorate with the remaining pear slices. Serve at once.

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