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red wine radicchio risotto in pan with spoon

Make more red wine risotto. Travel less, and garden more. Scribbles from my notebook. These are my goals for 2017. Last year I spent as much time traveling as I stayed home. It was exhilarating and exciting. But it was also taxing and exhausting.

I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to travel. I am so grateful, but I am also tired. So now I rest a little bit. I am going on my third year in the Midwest. I have a beautiful backyard with a garden and I envision more time back there. More loving on my garden, and more nesting. More just staying put.

I just returned home from my last trip to Bologna. My mother-in-law lives there and my husband and I travel there as often as we can to see her. We spend our days walking around the city. Taking in its ancient romance while drinking cappuccino and Lambrusco, and eating plenty of meals at home with our family. This last trip we visited the nearby town of Ferrara. The photos of the cars in the street and the radicchio at the market are from our day trip there.

Our zia made a super simple red wine risotto with radicchio for one of our meals together. Radicchio is super abundant this time of year in Italy and the markets are flooded with it. There are dozens of varieties of radicchio. And it comes in every shade of deep purple to bright fuchsia to pale pink. And every shape from round to oblong to curly.

How to make red wine risotto. 

I love risotto. I love red wine risotto. But I don’t totally love radicchio. Because it can be pretty bitter. But I learned that when you soak it in cold water, the bitter mellows. So, one of the first things you want to do is create an ice bath and let it soak for a bit.  

The red wine gives this risotto a super smooth acidity. And the cashew cream, gives it its cream. This dish uses raw cashews in place of cream and cheese, and I promise you won’t miss the dairy. Arborio rice, the rice used to make risotto, is naturally gluten-free and cooks down in its own starch for another layer of creaminess.

This very classic Italian red wine risotto recipe is best eaten in the cold weather with a glass of red wine in hand. A simple, honest, humble, no frills meal. And it might even turn you into a radicchio lover.

radicchio risotto in bowl

streets in ferrara italy

pink radicchio at the market in italy

red wine radicchio risotto in pan

Yield: 4 servings

Red Wine Risotto with Radicchio and Cashew Cream

radicchio risotto in pan

A creamy red wine risotto simmered with radicchio and made with cashew cream.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups radicchio, finely shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk


  1. Pour the broth in a small pot. Cover it with a lid and keep over a low flame until you are ready to ladle it in.
  2. Make an ice bath for the radicchio and keep it submerged.
  3. In a large sauté pan heat the oil over low heat. Add in the onions and garlic and sweat for 5 minutes. Next add in the rice and sauté for 3 minutes. 
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add in the red wine, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook while stirring occasionally until all of the red wine has been absorbed.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and begin to ladle in the broth. Slowly letting the rice absorb the broth while stirring before adding in the next ladle.
  6. After three ladles drain the radicchio and add it to the pan. Continue adding ladels of broth and stirring until the rice is done. Doneness is when the rice is slightly chewy (not too soft and with a nice bite). This process will take about 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile in a blender combine the cashews and milk and process until totally smooth. 
  8. When the rice is done cooking with the broth, add in the cashew cream and stir to combine. Add more broth to loosen (if desired).


Sunday 15th of January 2017

Such a radicchio fan, but I honestly can't remember the last time I had it - you've inspired me!


Thursday 12th of January 2017

I love radicchio! And I love how all the varieties taste completely different from each other. I also loved seeing Ferrara here on your blog! I am so often in Bologna, but have yet to visit there.


Tuesday 10th of January 2017

I love radicchio - it's one of my favorite winter vegetables, so I was really excited to see this recipe. I bet it gets nice and sweet through the simmering process. And I don't always add cashew cream to my risotto (sometimes I just let the rice and simmering take care of creamy texture), but whenever I do I'm so happy with the richness of the texture and taste. Welcome back from your travels!


Saturday 7th of January 2017

This looks delicious! Can you make this with white wine instead of the red?


Saturday 7th of January 2017

Hi Laura - you could. The red wine adds a depth that I'm not sure the white wine would, but I think it's definitely worth a try. If you experiment with this please let me know how it turns out.

Kelly Nickell

Friday 6th of January 2017

What a great way to use radicchio. I also am not a huge fan, so I cant wait to try this recipe.

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