Food, Food Artisans

Ristotto Dinner Warms Hearts

The Versatility of Rice

This past Wednesday, Zingerman’s guests were treated to a delicious risotto cooking demonstration from Deli Chef Bill Wallo. The dinner was held in the intimate brick-walled space at Zingerman’s Events on Fourth in Kerrytown, and from the happy smiles on the faces of those in attendance, it was a rousing success.Chef Wallo had help from the effervescent and knowledgeable Alexandra Dib, of Italian Products USA, a Bolognia, Italy-based food importer, who provided many of the fine ingredients used in the dinner; and Deli Manager, William Marshall.

Ali began the evening by talking about the history and background of rice in Italy, and it’s popularity in Northern Italian cooking. Throughout the dinner she, Marshall, and Chef Wallo all shared commentary about the various dishes, while noting the unique characteristics of the different rice varietals as guests sampled the different courses.

For the first course, Chef Wallo created a dish he calls “Farr-Out!”, a beautiful combination of Farro, beets, Cara Cara oranges, Feta cheese, Orange juice, mint, some Planeta Extra virgin olive oil, and dashes of salt and pepper.



Next up was Black Rice Salad with Red Pepper & Pea Shoots, which combined the chewy and nutty flavor of Riso Venere Integrale (black rice) with the bright note of red bell pepper, and sweet green pea shoots. He finished the dish with olive oil, Agrodolce vinegar, salt and pepper.


Black Rice Salad

For the headline course, Chef Wallo fired up a a pair of burners at the front of the room and proceeded to walk guests step-by-step through the process of creating two different risottos: A full-strength version featuring white wine, farm butter, onion, Vialone Nano rice, vegetable broth, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper; and a slightly different version made without the wine, and using Planeta Olive Oil instead of butter. Both were delicious.IMG_4782

Next, came hand-made Arancini. These deep-fried rice nuggets featured a tasty Parmesan-Reggiano center, and were served with Chef Bill’s homemade tomato sauce.



The final course was a testament to the versatility the humble rice grain: fresh Rice Pudding with dried Ginger and Green Cardamom. The dish was a creamy, brightly flavored palate-cleansing finish to a wonderful meal.

See you soon!