St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

CULINARY : Appetizers : Risotto and Asiago “Thumbprints”

Risotto and Asiago “Thumbprints”


Pairs With:



Makes 1½ quarts

2 tablespoons olive oil
2½ cups arborio rice
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
3½ cups hot water


1. Heat olive oil until almost smoking, add rice. Reduce heat to medium and stir rice until lightly browned (3 to 5 minutes). Add wine and garlic, stir well.
2. Reduce heat to medium low and add water, stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occassionally, until rice has absorbed all the water and is al dente (slightly undercooked, or just a little bit chewy).
3. Spread rice out on an oiled cookie pan and cool, stirring occassionally.
Note: This recipe makes 3 times as much as you’ll need to make the thumbprints. The extra risotto makes a great side dish: re-heat rice with a chunk of butter, chicken or vegetable stock, and your choice of flavorings (wild mushrooms, parmesan cheese, asparagus, corn kernels, zucchini, spinach, artichoke hearts, etc).

Fresh Tomato Fennel Sauce


1 quart fresh tomato purée
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1½ teaspoons kosher salt


1. To make tomato purée: clean and core fresh red ripe tomatoes, chop roughly, blend in blender until smooth, strain to remove skins and seeds. You’ll need about 3 pounds tomatoes to get 1 quart of puree.
2. Place 1 quart purée into stainless pot and simmer with salt and fennel until reduced by ¼ or to desired consistency.



Makes 20 to 25 thumbprints

2 cups cooked risotto
¼ cup grated asiago cheese
¼ pound cream cheese, softened in microwave
1 egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Flour as needed


1. Beat all ingredients together on medium speed with paddle attachment in stand mixer for 1 minute until well combined and sticky.
2. Use 1 ounce scooper (or a tablespoon; 2 tablespoons will make one thumbprint) to portion, form and pack a bit into round balls, then place on oiled cookie sheet and push down with your thumb to make an indent in the rice ball, coat with flour, shake off excess, and fry in 350° oil until golden brown.
3. Add fennel sauce in thumbprint.


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