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Posts Tagged ‘barbera d’alba’

Radicchio Risotto

In Food on February 11, 2009 at 8:41 am


The very first time I ever cooked for my husband, EVER, I made this Radicchio Risotto. It’s one of my my all-time favorite, tried-and-true recipes from Bon Appétit, circa 1996! (Don’t change a thing – the recipe is perfect as written.) It gets its red color from the red wine and radicchio, and if you’re looking for ideas for Valentine’s Day meals, this is pure comfort and love.

The recipe says it serves 4 as an appetizer, but we make it for two as a main course. The list of ingredients is short and sweet—broth, olive oil, shallots, radicchio, arborio, red wine—with a little parm and butter to finish. We usually have all of this on hand, so it’s just a matter of grabbing a head of radicchio from Whole Foods on the way home. Prep is simple too, minus the stirring, stirring, stirring. First, chop up a head of radicchio:


Heat chicken stock in a medium saucepan while heating olive oil in a large sauté or chefs pan. Sauté shallots. Then add radicchio and sauté until it softens. Add arborio, stir for a minute. Then red wine. Stir until absorbed. Mix in a cup of hot broth, stir until absorbed, and then continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often, for about 25 minutes.


The stir in butter and grated parm. Serve with an earthy/fruity red like Côte du Rhône or Barbera d’Alba. 


Valentine’s Wine Guide

In Drink on February 11, 2009 at 12:46 am


Whether you’re with your soul mate, first date or flying solo—particularly if you’re flying solo?—here are The Foodinista’s top five picks for what to drink this weekend.

Flower Power

A few years ago before I met the boy, I attempted to get takeout on V-Day from my absolute favorite neighborhood sushi joint, Azami—run by two Japanese chicks, who have sadly since sold it—but they were too busy serving tables of lovey dovies to help a poor girl (take) out!  sake So I swung by Whole Foods, grabbed a tsunami combo on brown rice to go, and enjoyed it IMMENSELY with a small bottle of sparkling sake that I’d gotten at True Sake in San Francisco. Try the Hana Awaka (which means sparkling flower). Perfect serving for one! $6/250ml

It’s Now or Never

The one-night stand calls for a bottle that pretends to care, but is realistically just a Machiavellian means to an end. Cava, cava, cava. It’s a budget bubbly that’s fabulously festive, is a relatively low investment, but feels exotically devil-may-care. cava I’ve been loving the German Gilabert Reserva Cava available locally at Larchmont Wine & Spirits. Oh, and it’s REALLY good! So if you actually want a second date, the German Gilabert will have them coming back for more. $15/750ml.

She’s So Cold

Is there anything more seductive than ice-cold Chablis with fresh sweetwater oysters from Hog Island? While it’s still a bit of a splurge, the 2006 Domaine William Fevre “Montmains” Premier Cru Chablis is spicy, with mineral notes, white peach and citrus—pure romance. chablis I’ve seen it around for anywhere from $30-$45 bottle. Wally’s on the Westside has it for $89.99/bottle, for which I believe the technical term is rape.

Hop on Over

The fastest way to The Foodinista’s heart is most surely with a lusty bottle of Vietti Barbera d’Alba  “Scaronne” from the Piedmont region in Italy.vietti Perfumey aromas, mineral and earthy notes with a superb grasshopper label, this wine is made from the Barbera grape, and is quite possibly my favorite go-to red and at half the price of some of its Barolo big brothers. $45/750ml

I Do!

In this economy, I feel like shelling out $350 on a bottle of anything would need to be an earth-shatteringly important event. Nevertheless, one could easily drop this on any number of bottles of Champagne from the ’96 or ’97 vintages on shelves now. But if The Foodinista had $350+ to spend, and she doesn’t, it would be on a 1973 Dom Pérignon (which I’ve longingly admired on auction lists starting at $350/bottle, and skyrocketing from there). dom I’ve been lucky enough to try this gorgeous wine on several occasions, and each time I just melt. Much like I did when I met my husband, who is also from the ’73 vintage.

Cheers to a wonderful weekend, and drop me a line and let me know what you drank!!!


Six Degrees of Nancy Silverton

In Food on February 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times

Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times

Earlier today I got a facebook invitation to join a group called Send a Buck to Kevin Bacon, the premise being that each member would send $1 to Kevin Bacon care of his agent at the William Morris Agency to help him recoup substantial losses from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. For my money, I’d rather send my buck to Nancy Silverton, who lost her entire life savings—including her profits from the sale of La Brea Bakery—in the fiasco. EVERYTHING. She has kids to put through school, and it’s not like restaurants are exactly raking it in in this economy. Can you imagine??? I have enormous respect for her for being so forthcoming about the ordeal in this Los Angeles Times story, and also for being grace under pressure personified. Always. (Plus, can you stand how CHIC she is in this photograph????) Which is why on our next date night or date afternoon, my husband and I are getting a sitter for Tiny G and heading over to Pizzeria Mozza to do our part. Starting with the chicken liver bruschetta, moving right into the egg, guanciale, radicchio, escarole & bagna cauda pizza with a tricolore salad on the side and a quartino of Barbera d’Alba, and ending emphatically with the butterscotch budino.