This dish came from my newly arrived Chez Panisse Vegetables, by Alice Waters. I love Alice Waters' philosophy, and this is the first dish I've created from this cookbook. I bought it specifically because we get all of these organic vegetables every week from our CSA boxes, and it's nice to know several (delicious) dishes that you could make with a single type of vegetable. The best part about the CSA is that everything is seasonal, and about as freshly picked as you can possibly get without picking it out of your own garden.
This risotto is superb. And easy; since Alice Waters' recipes tend to showcase in-season vegetables at the peak of their flavor, there aren't a lot of ingredients. Radicchio is a bitter green (actually, an Italian chicory) that looks very similar to lettuce. Sort of like a head of purple- and white-striped lettuce. Choose medium-sized heads, as a young, mature radicchio has a rich, spicy flavor that mellows when grilled (also good just chopped raw in salads), while it tends to get quite bitter as it grows older and bigger. It's also high in magnesium, potassium and vitamin A. Store it in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.
Grilled Radicchio and Basalmic Risotto, from Chez Panisse Vegetables
1 1/2 medium heads of radichio
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
1 1/2 to 2 quarts of chicken stock
1 stick of butter
2 tsp. basalmic vinegar
chopped parsley and shaved parmesan (for garnish)
Prepare the radicchio by removing any outside leaves that are wilted or damaged. Cut into 9 large wedges lengthwise and grill the radicchio over medium heat until lightly colored and wilted, but not charred. It did fall apart a bit on me, but I was still able to get most of it out of the grill (P.s. It's not fun to grill while it's raining!). When cool enough to handle, chop roughly and set aside. Heat the chicken stock. Heat 3 tbsp. of oil in a large, heavy sauce pan over medium heat, and cook the onion until tender, but not brown. Add the rice and cook until slightly transluscent - about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, and when it is almost evaporated, add a ladle-full of the hot stock. Stirring often, each time the stock is almost absorbed completely into the mixture, add another ladle-full. After about 15-20 minutes, when the rice is still chewy but not cracked, stir in the radicchio, the butter and the basalmic. Cook for 3-5 minutes longer. The finished product will be slightly chewy. Garnish, and serve immediately. 4 Servings.
On a side note here, and yes, I am venting, if you should ever choose to do a CSA through a local farmer (and they are truly a wonderful way to support local farms and try lots of new and heirloom varieties of vegetables, so I highly recommend that you do), do get yourself a written contract from the farm. This is not something I ever really thought about, but we recently realized that our farmer, from Little Wing Farm here in Eugene, has just up and disappeared with the money that all of the CSAmembers paid for the rest of the season (through November, at $20 a week). It's very unfortunate, as we have been with him for almost three years, and even, I would say, had become friends and done activities with him not connected to the CSA. He's been seen around town by other farmers (thus we know something awful has not befallen him physically), but no one in the CSA has gotten any vegetables for three weeks, and not even the Lane County Farmer's Market consignment can help us. We were worried about him at first, giving him the benefit of the doubt, and have left several messages trying to contact him, but now have been forced into only the saddest and hardest conclusion...that there won't be any more vegetables, and that our relationship with this farmer is over. The director attempted to find out what was up, but when asked what they found out, they just shrug their shoulders, give us a sad look and say, "Sorry." Sorry, I guess you're just out of luck. I'm pretty sad about it, because I feel a bit betrayed by a friend (that's the worst of it, really...if he just would have called to tell us he couldn't do it anymore), and we're out the money which we don't have much of anyway, but we're counting our losses and moving on. So, please, don't let this happen to you.
written by Michelle at 2:00 PM