Risotto with Red, Yellow and Green Peppers

One of our constant sources of inspiration for Italian food is Marcella Hazan. Here is one of her many delicious risotto  recipes, which we've tweaked by adding some white wine (of course!).

3 meaty bell peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

Fine sea salt

5 cups chicken stock, or homemade broth plus one cup dry white wine

Extra white wine for deglazing

2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 cups Italian risotto rice, such as Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, Baldo, or Arborio

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Black pepper freshly ground


For 6 persons

1. Wash the bell peppers in cold water, split them lengthwise along the creases and remove the stem, seeds and pithy core. Cut into 1/2 inch squares.

2. Choose a heavy-bottomed, heat retaining 4-6-quart saucepan--such as an enameled cast iron--and add 1 tablespoon of the butter, the tablespoon of vegetable oil, and the onion, and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook the onion, stirring from time to time, until it becomes coloured a deep gold.

3. Add the peppers, turn up the heat a notch, turn them over two or three times to coat them well, and cook for about 5 minutes before turning the heat down to medium. Sprinkle with salt, and continue cooking for 30 to 35 minutes more, stirring from time to time. If the bottom of the pot starts to get too dark, deglaze with 1/4 cup wine, as you go ( I've used up to a cup of wine while cooking the peppers).

4. While the peppers are cooking, bring the broth plus the wine to a low simmer in a saucepan on a nearby burner.

5. When the peppers have cooked for 30 to 35 minutes over medium heat, add the parsley and combine it thoroughly with the peppers. Remove about 1/2 cup of peppers from the pan and set aside for later.

6. Add the rice to the saucepan and turn up the heat. Stir, turning the rice over several times to coat it well. Add a ladleful of the simmering broth and stir, using a straight-edge wooden spoon to keep the rice moving away from the bottom and sides of the pan. When the liquid in the pan has evaporated, add another ladleful or two and continue stirring. Cook in this way until the grains of rice lose their chalky centers and are firm yet tender, about 25 minutes. If you find yourself running out of broth before the rice is done, add a cup or two of water. When you near the end, do not let the rice dry out completely, but leave in enough broth to kepp the risotto loose and flowing.

7. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the grated Parmigiano, and swirl vigorously.

8.Swirl the reserved 1/2 cup of cooked peppers into the risotto, taste, and correct for salt. Add liberal grindings of black pepper, mix again, and serve at once.

To celebrate the release of our first product in Vintages at the LCBO stores here in Ontario, we made this risotto with the Nals Margreid 2012 Pinot Grigio. So we enjoyed it twicefold!