Yes it spring. Serving radicchio risotto when it is seventy degrees outside seems a bit wrong, like I am a traitor to the month.
I was trying to cook using the things I had in the pantry. And this is what I had: a small head of radicchio, some fresh cheese, and a pantry full of goods including red wine, arborio rice, an onion, and spices. So radicchio risotto it was. It was an admittedly bastardized risotto too. I used feta cheese instead of parm (it didn't melt as well but added a nice sharpness to the risotto) and I also stirred in a couple of tablespoons of sour cream for creaminess and richness. It's a trick cookbook author Sally Schneider recommends.
I am a sucker for authentic risotto and I was shocked at the creative liberties I took. But it was a long day, and above all, I wanted the meal to be good. I was worried, so I improvised a bit with good results.
Radicchio risotto is pretty yummy. And its a pretty pink color too, which made my day. Add lots and lots of salt and fresh ground pepper to the finished risotto and make up a huge green salad and enjoy. Even though it isn't the most seasonal of dishes it was satisfying. There were lots of leftovers that I have eaten cold for lunch and enjoyed immensely as I stare out the window at the sunshine.
5 cups (about) stock -- I used vegetable
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (about 10 ounces)
1/2 cups dry red wine -- I used pinot noir
2 cups finely chopped radicchio
1/4 feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Lots and lots of good salt and pepper
Bring 5 cups stock to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low; keep stock hot.
Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 2 minutes. Add wine; reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until wine is absorbed, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of hot stock; simmer until stock is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time until rice is tender but still slightly firm in center and mixture is creamy, simmering until stock is absorbed before each addition and stirring often, about 20 minutes.
Mix in cheese, sour cream, and thyme. Mix in radicchio into risotto; simmer 3 minutes, stirring often. Remove risotto from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer risotto to shallow serving bowl. Serve.