LIVE VIDEO: WUSA 9 at 6pm    Watch

Stress free holiday menu from Rialto

11:02 AM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

courtesy of Chef Ryan Fichter, Executive Chef at Rialto

Chef suggests:

Serve your guests sparking wine sure to delight everyone. Served on tap at Rialto.

Instead of the traditional cheese and crackers platter, try unique cheeses, such as:
Blu di Bufala: a full bodied, sweet & tangy cheese or Pecorino Foglie Noci: a firm, sweet and delicate cheese or Lou Bergier: semi-soft cheese, raw milk, full flavor creaminess.

After your appetizer is served, move to a light Rucola salad with arugula, walnuts, pears and white Balsamic Vinegar.

Prosciutto san Daniele
A unique meat-platter must-have.

Polenta e Polpette
A classic favorite---meatballs. Available in veal, pork, or beef with tomato sauce. Chef will demo on camera how to make polenta.

Braised Lamb Shank
Step away from the overdone Christmas goose to a dish that will surprise your guests. Chef will demonstrate how to pan sear and braising methods on camera.

Wrap up your dinner with a delicious traditional Italian dessert made of layered lady fingers soaked in Espresso and Kahlua instead of the expected Christmas cookies.




  • 1 # baby arugula
  • 4 ounces of toasted walnuts
  • 2 pears of your choice sliced with stem and seeds removed
  • Salad dressing recipe below enough to coat the lettuce
  • White Balsamic Dressing
  • 2 ounces of white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon shallots minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 ounces veg oil
  • 1 ounce of olive oil
  • Salt to taste


In a mixing bowl, place all ingredients and mix with a whisk.

Polenta e Polpette


  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups polenta cornmeal
  • 1 cup onion fine dice


In a heavy large saucepan, put 2 tablespoons butter and sauté onions until softened without color then add 6 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the rest of the butter, and stir until melted.
Then serve with your meatballs placed on top.



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork or lamb
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 cup day old bread diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Soak the bread in milk for five minutes. Then, mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand. Use your bare hands for best results. Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball. Drop raw meatballs into large (I use a stock pot) pot of tomato sauce. Simmer for about 3 hours.

Braised Lamb Shank


  • 1 herb sachet containing rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, oregano sprigs, bay leavesExtra-virgin olive oil
    4 lamb shanks (each about 1 1/4 pounds; 1 shank is a portion)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 medium yellow onions large slice
  • 3 carrots, peeled rough chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 (12 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bottle of your favorite red wine -- I like to use a zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon 
  • and black peppercorns
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 14 cup tomato paste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a Dutch oven, coat with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Before seasoning the lamb shanks pat dry with a paper towel, then season the shanks with salt and black pepper add them to the pan. Brown well on all sides to insure that you have a good sear on the shank Remove the shanks from the pan to a sheet tray. Then add the veggies season with salt, to taste. Sauté the veggies over medium heat until they are brown and aromatic, about 10 minutes. The brown veggies should form a sort of crust on the bottom of the pan, do not let this burn; add the tomato paste and brown for 3 minutes. Deglaze with red wine, then add the chicken stock and sachet and shanks.
The shanks should be submersed, if they are not, add more water. Cover and put in the preheated oven. The cooking time will be about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn the shanks over about halfway through the cooking time. Check the shanks every 45 minutes or so. If the liquid has reduced too much, add more water. Defat as you go. When the shanks are done, the meat should be incredibly tender and flavorful. Gently remove the shanks from the braising liquid and remove the sachet. With an immersion blender, puree the braising liquid and if needed, reduce the liquid until the desired sauce consistency has been reached pour the sauce back over the shanks and serve



  • 7 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled
  • 14 cup Meyer's dark rum
  • 2 packages ladyfingers approximately 30 pieces
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder for dusting


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and 1 tablespoon rum then mix until thoroughly combined. In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and rum. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso only to submerge them. Over soaking them will result in a wet tiramisu and it will not setup properly. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom. Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture then cover the top with cocoa powder. Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Most Watched Videos