The most beloved time of year for many people, Christmas, is finally here.
Along with the decorations and preparations for the holidays, thinking of a new recipe suitable for the many lunches and dinners that await us during Christmas is fun but also a worry that we all share.
So we asked our dear Federica Visconti of Taste Of Style to think of a recipe for a first course suitable for entertaining that meets one requirement: that it pairs perfectly with our Mai Dire Mai Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2012. A wine of which we are very proud, young but complex and with a great personality. A label definitely suitable for all festive dishes, but we wanted Federica to interpret it for us in a recipe.
Federica is from Milan but lives in Verbania - on Lake Maggiore - with her son in a beautiful house. While she prepared the recipe exclusively for us, we asked her a few questions.
One thing you wanted to do and didn't do and one thing you want to do in the future?
I wanted to live in New York and I didn't. In hindsight I would say to the 20-year-old Federica to demand less from the future and throw herself into things even more, there is a solution to everything, always.
In the future I would like to be able to create my own space, something unusual to welcome people and make them feel at home. Maybe in 2020 I'll do it!
Why do you live on the lake? What do you like about life at the lake?
I live on the lake because my son’s father was born and raised here and would never leave the "lake view" for the "view of the skyline”. But I’ve realised that for 2020 I also need a base in Milan because more and more my work requires me to be present in the city. I like the rhythms of the lake and the fact that from May to September it is like always being on holiday. The days are crazy and Nature is at its best.
Do you like Christmas? How are you going to spend this Christmas?
I love Christmas, I love it so much that this year I even took my son to Lapland to meet Santa Claus in person. When I was little I eagerly awaited this day and carefully monitored the tree situation to see the growing number of gifts. This year I will stay home, like every year. Christmas eve he will be in the Sebastiano's grandmother’s mountain cabin and Christmas Day will be at home, on the carpet building all the toys that will have arrived. Our lunch will be very easy. In fact, I have not yet decided on the menu.
Do you want to reveal the recipe that reinterprets our Mai Dire Mai Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2012?
I made a risotto with Amarone. Here's the recipe:
320 gr Vialone Nano rice
60 gr grated grana cheese
60 gr finely chopped yellow onion
40 gr butter
35 gr ox marrow
1 l of beef stock
1/2 bottle of Amarone
salt to taste
pepper to taste
To make the Amarone risotto, first clean, wash and finely chop the onion. Add half the butter, the ox marrow and the chopped onion in a saucepan.
When the onion is golden, add the rice. Then, toast it on medium heat for a few minutes. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to toast the rice.
Once the rice is toasted, season with salt and pepper. At this point slowly add the red wine. Cook the rice until done.
Finish your Amarone risotto by adding the remaining butter and the grated Parmesan cheese off the heat. Mix well and serve the Amarone risotto. Decorate with rosemary and vegetarian red caviar.
Your favourite book?
I love well-illustrated cookbooks, I’ve lost count of how many I have. And then I like all the books by Amos Oz, I could read them endlessly and always amaze myself with the extraordinary descriptions and depth of language. There was a time in my life where I only read the great Russian classics of the 19th century and early 20th, and I must say that I loved them very much from Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" to Dostoyevsky's "The Gambler". I love pre-revolutionary Russian culture and these books make it come to life.
What are you going to do today?
My typical day is very organized and scheduled in a maniacal way, I wake up very early and try to get to work. Then I take Sebastiano to school and try to take a walk, even in the rain (when I'm lucky!). Then I go back to work until 4pm, when I go to pick up my son and together we then try to enjoy the last hours of light this time of year. Today for example we will finish decorating the Christmas tree and the house. I have two little guests for dinner tonight, so I have to cook!pm, when I go to pick up my son and together we then try to enjoy the last hours of light this time of year. Today for example we’ll finish decorating the Christmas tree and the house. I have two little guests for dinner tonight, so I have to cook!