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Risotto agli Spinaci with a Montepulciano-Aglianico Blend #ItalianFWT

This month the Italian Food, Wine & Travel - #ItalianFWT - blogging group is traveling to Molise. Follow along the journey with my fellow #ItalianFWT bloggers.  You can also chat with us live this Saturday morning at 11am EST on Twitter at #ItalianFWT.  Hope to see you there!

To Molise
Molise is situated in south-central Italy and lies between the Apennines and the Adriatic. And, caseophile that I am, I am definitely on the hunt for some of their dairy products, in particular the caciocavallo and stracciata cheeses of Agnone and Alto Molise, fior di latte cow’s milk mozzarella from Boiano, buffalo mozzarella from Venafro, and pecorino sheep’s cheese from Matese. I have had the ubiquitous scamorza and burrino, a butter-filled cheese.

Other local specialties include mostarda d’uva, jam made with grapes from the Molise countryside; cauciuni, chickpea-filled pastry; ostie farcite, wafers filled with walnuts and almonds; and cippillati, baked ravioli filled with sour black cherries.

The Other #ItalianFWT Offerings... 
Join us live on Twitter Saturday March 5th at 11am EST @ #ItalianFWT to chat about Molise. Here's more from my fellow bloggers:

In the Glass...
It’s no secret that I love Italian wine. I also love red blends. But I have to admit, I have never had a blend that consisted solely of the Italian grapes Montepulciano and Aglianico. But it was the only Molise wine that I could find locally...and I'm so glad I did!

Made from Montepulciano and Aglianico grapes in the Ramitello production area, the Di Majo Norante is a deep ruby wine with amethyst reflections. And it's sophisticated mix of spice, fruit, and smoke made it a wonderful match for any hearty dish. Because of the prominent licorice notes, I opted to use lots of fennel in my food pairing.

On the Plate...
I was finally, actually prepared before Friday night! I had my wine, I had my arborio rice, I had my cuttlefish ink to make Risotto al Nero di Sepia with a Montepulciano-Aglianico Blend. Or so I thought. Then I opened up the jar and found mold. A fine layer of grey mold. I scraped it out, thinking I could isolate it. Then I noticed it all over the rim. And I chucked it in the garbage. Not worth getting anyone sick over.

Risotto al Nero di Sepia  agli Spinaci

Ingredients makes 8 servings
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 T butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • 6 to 8 C spinach leaves, washed, dried, and destemmed
  • 3 C arborio rice
  • 6 C organic broth
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 8 oz mascarpone cream
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper
Bring your broth and water to a boil. Then reduce it to a simmer and keep it on a burner adjacent to your risotto pan.

Melt 2 T butter with a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the onions and fennel. Cook until onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add in the spinach and cook until just wilted. Add in the rice and stir until completely coated with oil and butter.

Add one ladle of simmering broth at a time, stirring, stirring, and stirring some more till the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the rice is soft. If you need more liquid, just add more; if you don't use all of the stock, that's okay, too.

Let stand for 5 minutes. Season with fleur de sel and pepper to taste. Stir in mascarpone cheese. To serve, spoon out individual servings. Serve immediately.


  1. Seems we sampled the same wine as sometimes happens when we're all trying to get our hands on bottles from some of these obscure regions. I agree some of the cheeses from this region sounded like we all need a sample.

  2. Those cheeses sound seriously amazing Cam! Your dish looks fabulous. I really do need to make risotto more often (my wife isn't a fan which is why I don't make it - maybe just need to find the right one) Have you ever tried making risotto with farro? Or is that blasphemy? Nice wine!;-)

  3. Those cheeses sound seriously amazing Cam! Your dish looks fabulous. I really do need to make risotto more often (my wife isn't a fan which is why I don't make it - maybe just need to find the right one) Have you ever tried making risotto with farro? Or is that blasphemy? Nice wine!;-)

  4. We love risotto at our house. Sounds like this was delicious even though there was no squid ink. Must have been so disappointing!

  5. I love spinach, so this definitely looks good. I haven't done much with fennel, but I like how you incorporated it into your recipe. Looks and sounds like tasty.


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