My first experience of Amarone risotto was in Verona. We had booked to see Aida at the Arena di Verona and wanted a hearty meal to set us up for the rest of the evening.
We ate at Il Campidoglio, a pretty restaurant that’s nestled in a quiet courtyard, moments from the hustle and bustle of Piazza Delle Erbe. I’d like to say that we stumbled upon it, but that’s not true. It was an excellent TripAdvisor find, with fabulous reviews, and currently one of the top 100 places to eat in the city.
It was July, so we sat outside. I ordered the Amarone risotto. Verona is, of course, famous for the rich red wines produced nearby, with sun-dried grapes, so it’s a must if you visit. Needless to say, the risotto was an indulgent treat and something I’ve been recreating at home ever since. My easy to make recipe is perfect if you’re having people over or want to make something special, without too much fuss.
A simple Italian recipe, inspired by Il Campidoglio in Verona, Italy
- 1/2 bottle Amarone
- 150 g Risotto rice
- 250 ml Chicken stock
- 1/2 white onion diced
- 50 g butter salted
- A sprinkling of of fresh thyme
Start by gently sautéing the diced onion in half of the butter over a low heat for about five minutes or until the onion has softened and starts to look translucent. A thick bottomed pan or casserole dish is good for this
Add the risotto rice - arborio or carnaroli is fine - and slowly start adding the chicken stock, a few splashes at a time, until the rice has soaked it all up
Next, do the same with the wine. Amarone is not cheap - it can cost £20-30 upwards for agood bottle - so don't feel like you have to splash out. Instead, look for the own brand bottles that most supermarkets sell for around £10 or if that's too steep, seek out a bottle of Valpolicella Ripasso, which is made with the same grapes in a similar way
Continue to stir the risotto regularly, until the rice has soaked up all of the liquid, then stir in the rest of the butter. This can take about 20-30 minutes
Finally, serve with a sprinkling of fresh thyme and enjoy!