Upon visiting Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery’s “Villa Fiore” wine center in Dry Creek Valley, you’ll immediately notice not only its high-quality wines—but its absolutely amazing gardens and views. For example, each spring begins with 10,000 tulips and daffodils in full bloom, and year-round, you can tour the landscape of more than 2,000 species of trees and shrubs, annuals and perennials. It’s honestly a sight to behold.
Step inside to the wine center, and you’ll find a tasting bar where you can try the winery’s classic offerings, or head downstairs and check out the Enoteca reserve tasting bar, where limited-release and reserve wines are poured. This is where I found the winery’s gem of a Sangiovese. Grown in mountain vineyards of Alexander Valley, it’s dark, lush and filled with dark berry and spice. It’s lovingly paired here with Rhonda Carano’s (whom you can also largely credit for the garden) recipe for radicchio and licorice risotto.
Radicchio and Licorice Risotto
1 small head radicchio
Freshly grated white pepper
3/4 cup Ferrari-Carano Sangiovese
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
5 cups homemade chicken broth, heated
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. powdered licorice root (can be found in Asian or natural foods stores)
In large, wide pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat, add shallots and sauté until translucent. Add rice and stir until grains of rice are well coated. Add the white wine and stir until completely evaporated. Begin to add the simmering broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until almost completely absorbed before adding additional broth.
Five minutes before rice is ready, add the white vinegar, a dab of butter and the Parmesan cheese. Stir gently to mix well. Remove from heat. Serve the risotto in deep-dish bowls and add a mound of the radicchio mixture on top of the rice. Lightly sprinkle licorice powder. Serve immediately.
Note: The licorice is very aromatic and, with the radicchio, adds an elegant dimension to this risotto dish. You can also add 1 cup of shredded, smoked chicken and golden raisins for a smoky-sweet characteristic.
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