Paniscia Novarese (Risotto with Minestrone)

This is an especially hearty risotto, partially cooked in red wine and then completed with minestrone. It may be served in somewhat larger portions as a vegetarian main course.

For six as a first course:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine
  • 3 cups minestrone
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan

Melt the butter in the oil in a pot over medium heat. Mince the onion, add to the pot, and sauté for a minute. Add the rice and dried herbs and continue cooking for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is translucent. Continue stirring while adding the wine, a ladelful at a time, until all the wine has been absorbed by the rice. This process should take 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the minestrone in a separate pot. Gradually add the minestrone to the rice and continue stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed. While still stirring, add hot water or stock in small quantities until the rice is tender. The end result should be slightly soupy, with a consistency that is described in Italian as all'onda, meaning wavy or flowing.

Cover the risotto with minced parsley and serve with grated parmesan.