Rhubarb & Port Risotto

December 8, 2008 at 5:19 pm 7 comments

Rhubarb stalks

I’m about to do two things: pull out my thesaurus and dust off a rather old draft that’s been waiting for its fifteen seconds of SFTF fame for quite awhile.  Alrighty, now let’s skim this tattered thesaurus and find all the possible synonyms for “decadent”.  Whoa!  I’m not crazy, right?  Decadent, as applied to food at least, is a good thing, isn’t it?  My thesaurus has words like “corrupt”, “degenerate”, “dissolute”, and “self-indulgent”.


Arborrio rice

Well, I guess “self-indulgent” isn’t too far off the mark as a descriptive for this Rhubarb and Port Risotto.  But maybe I should just stick with “decadent” and not try to stretch my vocabulary any more.  As recently as this past August I made my very first risotto and only had one small regret: it was steamy hot summer.  Risottos are definitely a dish for cold days. 

Spoonful of risotto

Rhubarb’s gorgeous red hue always inspires me, as does its tangy fruity flavor. I got my last bunch of it when the chill of autumn had set in and risotto had come back to the forefront of my mind. How beautiful would a creamy risotto infused with the pink blush of rhubarb look?  This beautiful, of course.

Rhubarb and Port Risotto

Lucky for me, I didn’t have to dream up the recipe from scratch.  My lovely food blogger acquaintance, Mohini, over at Mango Power Girl, had already come up with a solid recipe that also included Port wine, my favorite spirit.  The flavors of rhubarb and port mingled together are rich and robust with just enough zip to cut the sweet creaminess of the rice before it becomes overpowering. 

Reduced rhubarb

I really like this recipe.  In fact, I love this recipe! I’d go so far as to say it’s among the top ten all-time best dishes to come out of the SFTF kitchen.  Unfortunately, the ephemeral season for rhubarb is over, and for that I apologize since it was my own disorganization that kept you from getting to promptly try this for yourself.  But won’t you please bookmark this post or print it off to use come spring when these ruby stalks are back at the farmers market?  It’s worth the wait.

Rhubarb and port risotto

Rhubarb & Port Risotto
Adapted from Mango Power Girl

2-3 large stems of rhubarb, sliced into small pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 T. tawny port wine, such as Crofts
2 T. butter
1/2 cup Arborio rice
3 cups milk
1 t. sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 t. cinnamon

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the rhubarb, ¼ cup of sugar, and lemon juice. Let them heat to a simmer. Add the port and simmer for several minutes until the port reduces and the mixture thickens. Take the rhubarb mixture off the heat and set it aside to cool.

In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer the milk, teaspoon of sugar and vanilla bean (pod and scraped beans).  Be sure the heat is very low so the milk never boils.  Leave the milk there while you work with the risotto.

Melt 1 ½ tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the rice and let it cook for a couple minutes, stirring.  Add about half a cup of milk at a time to the rice, constantly stirring until all the liquid is absorbed before you add the next half cup.

Once you add the last of the milk, and while you are still stirring, add the cinnamon.  Taste the risotto to make sure it is cooked; it should be creamy and chewy. If not, add a little more milk until it is. Generally, the total cook time for the risotto is 20 minutes.  Right before the risotto is finished, add the remaining half tablespoon of butter and stir until melted (this gives the risotto a nice sheen and richness).

Take the risotto off the heat and mix in the cooled rhubarb compote, saving a spoonful to top off each serving.  Serve the dish right away, while still warm, for the best flavor.

(makes 4 small servings)

Risotto on pink


Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. vanou  |  December 8, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Wow! that looks delicious!

  • 2. modemtoad  |  December 8, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Mmm. Thank you for sharing. That looks positively scrumptious. I’m off to find out who among the friends put up rhubarb preserves or froze rhubarb.

    I’ve already got the port. 🙂

  • 3. Chocolate Shavings  |  December 9, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I’m always looking for new risotto recipes – and rhubarb risotto is now first on my list!

  • 4. Mango Power Girl  |  December 9, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    I am flattered 🙂 and your photos are even more beautiful than what I came up with! I was looking at your photos the other day & thinking “hmm, this is a lot like mine” 😉 before I knew you’d started with my recipe 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed it so much & cheers for testing the recipe out!

    We’re going to have to meet up next time I’m in PA and maybe I can get a expert’s tour of Longwood Gardens? 😉

    p.s. I totally hear you on those posts that you never get around to writing and the seasons just pass by.
    p.p.s. This reminds me that I made some rhubarb preserve, so I can make this again out of season!

  • 5. Lo!  |  December 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Nice — I love the color of this, and I’ll bet it’s delicious. Great work with a good idea!!

  • 6. Andrea  |  December 10, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Ah yes, decadent is not a flattering word when applied to life-style or turn of the century French art, but in this case, it sounds great. I love the idea of a sweet risotto like this, like a rice pudding all grown up. Hum!

  • 7. Kinton  |  December 23, 2008 at 3:23 pm




    I am totally trying this for christmas eve dinner 🙂


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