Verona Blog 2: Risotto all’Amarone

Risotto all’Amarone recipe…

By Gabriele Ferron

For four people:

400g Vialone Nano rice or good quality risotto rice

900ml chicken stock

300ml Amarone* (just under half a bottle)

30g red onion, finely chopped

40g extra virgin olive oil

60g parmesan cheese (or Monte Veronese)

A knob of butter

Seasoning as required

Method:

Fry the onion with 20g of the olive oil and set aside. In a deep pan**, fry the rice with the remaining 20g of olive oil for a few minutes and heat the stock in a separate pan.

Add the Amarone to the rice and turn up the heat (to reduce the wine and burn off the alcohol) stirring carefully to combine the ingredients at the same time.

Then add all the hot stock and the fried onion, stir together, cover and lower the heat. Cook for around 14-15 minutes until the rice is ‘al dente’ and soft.

Take the risotto off the heat, add the butter and cheese and the dish is ready to be served. Buon appetito!

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About Gabriele Ferron: Gabriele’s speciality is traditional Italian rice dishes. She cooks at Verona’s Antica Botteca del Vino (www.bottegavini.it) and gives cookery demonstrations all over the world.

Notes:

*A Le Creuset casserole dish or similar works well

**What kind of Amarone? The Amarone is likely to be the most expensive component in this tasty dish and good quality Amarone does not come cheap due to the care that goes into making it. Yes, it’s an indulgence but it’s well worth it. Cantina Negrar’s Amarone Classico, 2008 (In store and on line at www.waitrose.com/wine, £17.09) is an Amarone that I’m happy to use for this dish and enjoy with the risotto when I serve it up. (PL)

Verona Blog 1: wine, food and a good hotel

Following my recent visit to look at the 2008 Amarone wines, I can offer the following tips if you’re visting the delightful city of Verona for business or pleasure.

Where to stay:

Four-star Hotel Accademia is located in the heart of the city a short walk from, cafés, bars and outdoor market of the scenic the scenic Piazza delle Erbe. Traditional in style, this independent hotel is spacious and comfortable and the buffet breakfast is second to none. On my visit (January 2012) the staff were friendly and helpful. Double rooms from €135 (low season). Check for special offers. 12, Via Scala, www.accademiavr.it

Where to eat:

- Antica Bottega del Vino is one of Verona’s gastromic landmarks, and  as the name suggests, there’s an extensive wine list and cellar. Specialities include Risotto all’Amarone (see Verona Blog 2 for the recipe). Price guide: upmarket. 3, Vicolo Scudo di Francia, www.bottegavini.it

- Ristorante Greppia is a spacious family-run trattoria offering traditional dishes such as ossobuco (veal shank). Two courses per person with wine: €40, Vicolo Samaritina, www.ristorantegreppia.com

- Osteria dal Cavaliere is a contemporary wine bar where you can try some of the best wines of the region by the glass or bottle with ham and cheese including the delicious local cheese – Monte Veronese – or enjoy a more substantial meal. No booking required and good value. 3, Pizzetta Scala (off Via Scala).

Where to buy food and wine:

- Gastronomia di Via Stella: Feast your eyes on and extensive counter offering ready-made pasta dishes and hors d’oeuvres, local cheeses, salamis and more. You can’t come out empty-handed! 11, Via Stella, www.gastronomiastella.it

- Bread and cakes: Bread, fresh pasta and pizza, delicatessen and wine. Try the ricotta and spinach pie. Eat in or take away. De Rossi, 3, Corso Porta Borsari (near Piazza delle Erbe).