Since the winery is going to have a Petit Verdot Vertical weekend soon, I’ve been working on creating some new recipes that utilize this amazing wine. This recipe is one of the creations I made when trying to come up with something that’s vegetarian. You could easily add some sort of protein as a topping, but I thought this was really tasty by itself.
I started with the whole-wheat pizza dough recipe that you can find on my blog. If you have a pizza dough recipe you like, by all means, use that one. If you don’t want to be bothered with making your own pizza dough, feel free to stop by your favorite pizza place and ask them for some dough – many are happy to sell you enough dough for a small/medium/large pizza. I really wanted to know the nutritional analysis for the dough, so the recipe I used worked well for me.
Once I stretched out the dough to the size I wanted for my pizza, I started working on my vegetarian topping. In this instance, I used Gunther’s Spicy Black Bean Dip (I had about 1/2 cup left over in my fridge), some salsa, a handful of frozen corn, some taco seasoning, and some James River Cellars’ Petit Verdot red wine. After mixing this together, I realized that I needed something to give it more volume, so I grated one small green zucchini into the salsa mixture (see the middle photo on the left). This is what I used as my base/topping for my veggie pizza. I spread it over the entire crust and then topped it with a cup of pizza cheese before popping it into a 425-degree pre-heated oven to bake.
As easy as this sounds, it was just as delicious. The zucchini gave enough volume to the pizza so my dinner was very satisfying as well as being really tasty. Pizza is one of those meals where I could put almost anything on a crust and I can be happy, so this was a fun meal. If you’re getting bored with your own meal planning, try putting something unconventional on a pizza crust…. you might find that you’ve created a new favorite dinner.
This is one of those “O M G” recipes for those of you who like a creamy rice dish. It’s got flavor and just enough texture… it’s decadent yet simple enough to make for a quick dinner… and it’s got lots of ingredients that can be flipped around to suit almost any finicky guest. Even better, it’s based on a recipe that my boss uses at her house! It became a staple in her house after her trip to Rome… it’s going to become a staple in my own house because it’s just so darn tasty. You’ll have to try it and see what YOU think.
4 Tablespoons of olive oil (divided 2T +2T)
Garlic (to taste – I like a lot, so I use 3-4 cloves worth)
1 1/4 cup arborio rice (I used a medium-length rice since I couldn’t find arborio but might use a short-grain next time)
1 cup James River Cellars’ Merlot (You can also use Cabernet Franc or another deep red wine of your choosing)
3 cups beef stock (If you’re making this for a vegetarian, simply use vegetable stock instead)
4 oz goat cheese (Use what you like and the amount you prefer – it’s the creaminess that you want here)
2 large, thinly sliced onions (You can substitute 3 cups of mushrooms or a mixture of both if you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat 2T olive oil over low heat, then add onions. Allow to slowly cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized. If you’re using mushrooms in any form, this is where you’re going to cook them.
While onions are cooking, heat remaining 2T olive oil in a large saucepan (don’t use something too small!). Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add rice, tossing to coat in the oil, and allow to toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in wine, stirring occasionally. Once the wine is absorbed, add in 1 cup of stock and allow the rice to absorb the stock as it did with the wine. Repeat this 2 more times until all the stock has been added and absorbed. I didn’t stir this constantly – I didn’t feel it was necessary. I kept an eye on it and then tasted the rice when all the liquid was absorbed – if you like a softer consistency, feel free to add another cup of stock to the rice and stir as before.
Reduce the heat to low and add salt/pepper, goat cheese and onions, then stir. I like the cheese to be thoroughly incorporated before I serve it, so I don’t top each serving with bits of cheese, but feel free if that’s what you prefer.
You’ll notice that this post looks like an actual recipe… because I started with an actual recipe. I’ve added tons of places where you can alter things to fit your preferences, but this is your starting point. If you want to add some protein, feel free! There’s no “RISOTTO POLICE” who will come and tell you that you’re doing things wrong. As with any recipe where I use The Force to create a new rendition, feel free to make your own changes. The idea is to help you think outside the box and come up with a dish that will become a favorite at your house.
After all… don’t you think the famous chefs took some inspiration from the food they ate when they were out? It’s scary, but try it every once in awhile. You might create a new “famous” recipe too!