Romantic Risotto Supper
Risotto Nero with Squash & Burrata
Oakes makes this gorgeous risotto with Venere black rice, a naturally black short-grain rice. The glossy grains are especially striking served with the golden butternut squash puree and creamy white burrata.
At tiny Frasca Food and Wine, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (an F&W Best New Chef 2005) is famous for his Friulian food. When Frasca moves to a bigger space later this year, he'll open a casual café serving dishes like chopped salads made with greens grown on the roof.
Arugula and Persimmon Salad with Shaved Manchego Cheese
Using the best olive oil you can find is the trick to this quick salad. It's also best to use persimmons that are slightly under ripe, they are less sweet and they'll hold their shape when sliced thin. Any variety of persimmons will work with this.
Wild Mushroom-and-Red Wine Risotto
This savory dish pairs well with an intense, blackberry-scented red from Rosso Conero in Italy's Marches region.
Winter Greens Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
If you're looking for a simple but special salad that will hold up on the table beautifully during a long meal (no more wilted greens!), this fresh-herb-and-buttermilk-dressed salad from cookbook author Melissa Clark is perfect.
Wild Mushroom and Burrata Bruschetta
These creamy mushroom toasts (cremini and shiitake) pair well with a rich cheese, like burrata.
This garlicky bread is perfect for dipping, or on its own.
3 Favorite Italian Wines
Top sommeliers at three Italian restaurants recommend their favorite Italian bottlings.
Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle
This light, silky panna cotta tastes a lot like hot cocoa in custard form. The brittle is easy to make; heat sugar and water on the stove, swirl in butter and spiced pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), then let cool.
Zabaglione with Strawberries
Here we serve the zabaglione hot when it's just made, but if you want to prepare the dish ahead of time, mix the zabaglione with whipped cream and refrigerate it.
Babas au Rhum with Mixed Citrus Fruits
"My preference for dessert is a lot of fruit with a little something," says star blogger and baker David Lebovitz. And so he came up with these wonderful little vanilla cakes, which he douses with rum syrup, then piles high with citrus fruit and whipped cream.