Happy new decade burritos! I hope these first couple weeks of 2010 have brought many tasty meals to your tables. It's wintertime, and I don't have an oven. I had never really given much thought to this, but spending the winter in Istanbul in an oven-free apartment has really driven home how much my memories of winter's home-cooked meals have been baked in an oven.
But we must persevere! So, here's a dish that is creamy and luscious and very comforting, and for all you New Yorkers, can be done without having to find new storage for your shoes, or books, or whatever trinkets you banish from vision in the depths of your oven.
It's a risotto made with buckwheat groats and radicchio di Treviso. buckwheat? radicchio? Though it might sound out of your comfort zone, trust me and try it. You'll discover a new obsession.
With grandparents living on the Italian border, El Burrito grew up eating radicchio and is always asking that I incorporate it into our meals. Problem is, I don't really like it-- the average sort found in a salad is too bitter for me. But the radicchio di Treviso is a totally different deal that is incredibly well suited for cooking, turning the corner from bitter and crunchy to almost sweet and meltingly soft without much effort. I wouldn't substitute another type of radicchio, you'll miss the succulence and substance of this particular breed and I can't promise the result will be memorable.
Buckwheat you may know from soba noodles or perhaps sarrasin crepes from Brittany. It's a very healthy whole grain full of fiber and high quality protein (containing all eight essential amino acids) and minerals, but it doesn't have any gluten, so I've added some short-grain rice to the dish to ensure the creamy goodness of a classic risotto.
buckwheat risotto with radicchio di treviso
1 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup shortgrain rice
4 heads radicchio di Treviso
1 L vegetable or chicken stock
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar (thick & syrupy)
1/2 c. red wine
1/2 c. grated parmesan + more to serve at the table
good sea salt
Heat the stock and leave simmering. Wash the radicchio, separate the leaves, and roughly chop them into 2 cm. pieces. Finely dice the shallot. Heat some olive oil in a large pan, add the chopped shallot, and cook until translucent. Add the chopped radicchio and saute for a couple minutes until completely softened. Add the buckwheat and rice and stir until the grains are coated in oil. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate. Start adding the warmed stock cup by cup, stirring after each pour until each addition has been absorbed. Don't get impatient, this will take about 20 minutes, but it's the only way to get a lusciously creamy risotto. Once the rice is tender, stir in the 2 teaspoons of aged balsamic vinegar and the grated parmesan. Season to taste with some sea salt and serve immediately.