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Risotto al Balsamico

At Ca Montanari in Emilia-Romagna, this simple, flavorful risotto is made with the restaurant's homemade traditional aged balsamic vinegar (typically very expensive). This more affordable version calls for a balsamic reduction instead, but if you're willing to indulge, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale can be used.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons arborio rice (about 10 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, boil the balsamic vinegar over moderately high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Cover and keep hot.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat until the shallot is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are evenly coated with oil, about 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer over moderate heat until it is almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add enough of the hot stock to just cover the rice and cook, stirring, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 25 minutes.
  4. Discard the bay leaf and stir in 1 tablespoon of the balsamic reduction. Stir in the butter and the three tablespoons of cheese and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of balsamic reduction and sprinkle with more cheese. Serve right away.

Suggested Pairing

A glass of Opera ’02’s lightly sweet Lambrusco di Modena Amabile will echo the sweetness of the balsamic drops on this rich risotto. Another good off-dry Lambrusco is the NV Cantina di Sorbara Amabile.

Photo © Marcus Nilsson Published September 2012

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