Red Wine Risotto

(recipe, Viana La Place)

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Rich red wine — dark, profoundly scented, complex, its flavor deep as a well — generously flavors this very special but simple risotto.


  1. 1 small onion
  2. 1 small carrot
  3. 1 celery stalk, with leaves
  4. 1 handful basil leaves
  5. 1 handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
  6. 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  7. 1 cup Barbera or other rich, full-flavored red wine
  8. 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  9. 6 cups simmering salted water
  10. 2 cups Arborio rice
  11. ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table


  1. Finely chop together the onion, carrot, and celery stalk. Finely chop together the basil and parsley leaves.
  2. In a medium, heavy-bottomed soup pot, sauté vegetables and herbs in butter over medium-low heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Add ¾ cup red wine and cook until absorbed. Add tomato paste and I ladleful simmering water. Stir well and cook down for several minutes until water evaporates.
  3. Add rice and stir to coat grains. Continue adding simmering water, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring often. Keep pot covered between stirs. Toward end of cooking, add remaining wine.
  4. When rice is al dente and risotto creamy and moist, about 16 minutes, turn off heat. Stir in half the cheese, taste for salt, then stir in additional cheese as needed. Cover and let rest briefly before serving.


Culinate editor's note: You may wish to use some stock in place of the simmering salted water to boost the risotto's flavor. Try 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock and 4 cups water.