This month I am hosting the #MoviesandMunchies group as we watch Letters to Juliet. You can read my invitation here which includes a brief plot summary. It's really not that much more complicated than that, but it is enjoyable. At least I found it enjoyable!
I mentioned that Sophie and Victor are in Verona as a pre-wedding honeymoon because Victor is about to open an Italian restaurant in New York and, once that happens, he won't be able to get away for a honeymoon or any kind of vacation for years! Sophie has this idea that the trip is going to be a romantic get-away for them to connect and explore the city of Romeo and Juliet. But Victor views this as an opportunity for him to visit all of his producers, including winemakers, cheesemakers, and more. You can see how this will rapidly descend into discord, right?
In the meantime, Sophie has met the Secretaries of Juliet who work for the city of Verona and answer letters that are left in the courtyard of Casa di Giulietta. Sophie watches Isabella collect the letters and follows her to Trattoria Lettere di Giulietta. Upstairs Isabella and the other secretaries pen responses to all the women who have asked for Juliet's advice. Downstairs Angelica runs a trattoria.
When Sophie brings Victor there, he is eager to learn from Angelica and Risotto all'Amarone is one of the dishes he mentions. Though we never see the dish, I was inspired to make it as I haven't had it in years and it's one of my favorite Fall dishes.
When I traveled to Verona, I was on a serious starving student budget. I remember eating bread and cheese at the hostel and buying a kilo of grapes at the market during the day. I always saved money for a glass of wine at an enoteca. And I did splurge on the baci di guilietta and baci di romeo. How could I not? I never did have Risotto all'Amarone in Verona, but I always think of that city when I make it. I don't always put mushrooms in it, but because Sophie and Victor have a verbal spat about mushrooms, I thought it would be a fun and tasty addition.
Victor had planned to go on a truffle hunt and Sophie objects to spending a day looking for mushrooms. Victor explains that it's a fungus also, yes, but it's not a mushroom; and he exhorts, "Just don't call it a mushroom, okay?"
Ingredients makes 4 servings
- 1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- splash of olive oil
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- 1-1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1-1/2 cups organic chicken stock
- 1 cup Amarone (or other red wine if you don't have that)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano plus more for serving
Bring your stock, wine, and water to a boil. Then reduce it to a simmer and keep it on a burner adjacent to your risotto pan.
Melt 1 Tablespoon butter with a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until their release some liquid and soften. Stir in the garlic, then add in the rice and 1 more T of butter. stir until completely coated with oil and butter.
Add a little of the simmering liquid 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. Stir in parmigiano cheese. To serve, spoon out individual servings and grate cheese over the top and serve immediately. Drizzle with more Amarone if you wish.