Amarone is known for being born in the province of Verona, halfway between the town of Romeo and Juliet and Sirmione, on the Garda Lake, the town of the Latin poet Catullus; an area that evokes ideas of culture, elegance, love and passion.
And yet, the area is also a land of “gastronomic poetry” and passion, because not only Amarone, but also various delicacies are produced here, and its typical products are highly considered among food connaisseurs.
One of these products is a quite rare kind of rice, that was classified as an “IGP” (that stands for “Protected geographical indication”) product back in 1996. We’re talking about Riso Vialone Nano Veronese.
In the same year, another refined gastronomic product of the area was given the DOP classification: Monte Veronese cheese, a traditional cheese whose ancient origins are located in the Lessini Mountains, to the north of Valpolicella.
Vialone Nano is a kind of rice with a medium-sized grain and a high content of starch, that is what makes risottos creamy.
Its predisposition to be employed in finest risottos and its origins made of it the ingredient of choice for making a great Amarone-flavoured first course.
The delicacy and the aromatic bouquet of the cheese made of it the perfect choice to complete such an exquisite dish.
Ingredients (for four servings)
320 g Vialone Nano rice
60 g grated aged Monte Veronese cheese
50 g finely chopped onion
50 g butter
40 g extra-virgin olive oil
1 lt hot beef broth
40 cl Amarone della Valpolicella (half a bottle or so)
Pour the wine in a pan and allow it to heat slowly.
In the meantime, in a larger pan, let half of the butter melt with the oil. Once it’s melt and foamy, add the chopped onion and let it lightly panfry. It must turn transparent, without scorching.
Once the onion mirepoix is ready, add the rice and let it toast for a couple of minutes.
This is a passage that a lot of people avoid, but that’s crucial for a good risotto, because it helps the grains absorb more liquid when cooked.
Start adding warm Amarone a little at a time, stirring the rice until evenly absorbed.
Then, add hot broth until the rice is completely cooked.
Once the risotto is cooked, turn the burner off and add the remaining butter and the grated Monte Veronese cheese and stir. It is mandatory to let the butter and the cheese melt in the risotto without actually cooking them on the burner, to let them develop their full taste.
Wait for two or three minutes to let flavours spread and enjoy!