Flicks & Food With The Domestic Diva: DATE NIGHT Red Wine Risotto With Radicchio, Rosemary & Bacon

IMG_4623  Divas, I'm back with another Flicks & Food column! 

What DATE NIGHT would be complete without a fabulous meal? 

Of course, I'm talking about the Steve Carell and Tiny Fey two-hander romantic comedy movie, the one where they play a married couple named Phil and Claire Foster who hit a hot restaurant in NYC in an attempt to spice up their love life.  The restaurant is called Claw of all things, and of course they show up sans reservation, a real no no in The Big Apple.  The host promptly forgets about them, and in a desperate attempt to salvage the night, Phil steals another couple's reservation (who does that?!).  Of course, they're then mistaken for that couple, the Tripplehorns, and then a lame movie plot ensues (I'll spare you the gory details). 

Being the Domestic Diva, my favorite joke of the movie takes place when two gangsters show up a Phil and Claire's table and force them out of the restaurant.  Claire, who a second earlier had been moaning over her risotto, takes it to the back alley with her because she can't bear to part with it.  The gangsters then threaten them and break her bowl.  Claire quips that she'll have it eat the risotto off the ground now.

Knowing how heavenly risotto can be (I make it often, and it's one of my favorite things), I related to Claire in her moment of desperation.  So in honor of this movie and the spilled risotto, I'm writing up one of my favorite risotto recipes for Red Wine Risotto With Bacon, Radicchio And Rosemary. 

Instead of using white wine, this recipe uses red wine which gives the dish a hearty, meaty kick.  It also transforms the risotto into the most stunning reddish-purple color.  This risotto also sports radicchio, a leaf vegetable popular in Italy with a bitter, spicy taste that mellows after it's grilled or roasted, and rosemary, one of my favorite herbs which is native to the Mediterranean region.

Another recipe tip?  This dish is a great way to make use of leftover wine!  I always keep bottles vacuum capped in my fridge for just such an occasion.

So the next time a Date Night rolls around, avoid the hassle of mistaken identities, stolen flash drives and Mark Wahlberg sans shirt trying to steal your wife, and make this risotto.  I promise it'll be one Date Night that you won't forget!

Red Wine Risotto with Radicchio, Rosemary & Bacon
Serves 3-4 people
Cooking time: 40 minutes

1/2 head radicchio, chopped roughly
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup bacon, chopped and sauteed in olive oil
parmesan reggiano, for garnishing
salt and pepper

To cook the radicchio and rosemary, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the radicchio and rosemary and cook gently with the lid on until wilted and tender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the risotto, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, sauteing until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for one more minute. Then add the rice and stir for another two minutes. Pour in the red wine and stir until absorbed. Once the wine has been absorbed, slowly add the chicken stock 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding more stock.

Once the rice is cooked al dente, stir in the bacon, radicchio and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  To plate, either serve family style, or spoon some risotto into the center of a plate.  Top with a little fresh rosemary and grated parmesan. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing
This dish screams for a red wine to match the wine in the dish. Because of the meaty bacony flavors, I'd select a big California Syrah or Rhone Blend, from a producer like Saxum, Copain or Tablas Creek.

DD profile pic About the Author
JENNIFER DAWN ROGERS … A graduate of Harvard University and a former film development executive, Jennifer cooks and writes in Los Angeles.  In 2009, she launched her blog Domestic Divas (www.domesticdivasblog.com), which focuses on local, organic cooking, restaurant and wine reviews.  She is currently writing her first novel.

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