Risotto all’affumicata

Risotto all'affumicata

The full and delicious taste of this risotto will undoubtedly warm your heart and soul. In this recipe the smoked pancetta is combined with another smoked item, Provola affumicata cheese from Southern Italy’s Campania region. Smoking is actually a process to preserve, flavor and cook food by exposing it to smoke from wood or other burning or smouldering materials. Different types of meat, like pancetta, and fish are the most common smoked foods, although cheese and vegetables can be smoked, too. Smokehouse temperatures for cold smoking are typically between 20-30 C/68-86 F. Cold smoking can be simply used as a flavor enhancer because the food is smoked just long enough to give it some flavor, and the foods are still cooked, either by baking, grilling, roasting, or sautéing, before eating.

Ingredients:

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

100 gr/ 3.5 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes

2.5 dl/ 1 cup risotto rice

1 liter/ 4 cups vegetable stock

80 gr/ 3 oz smoked Provola affumicata cheese, thinly sliced

250 gr/ 9 oz champignon mushrooms, sliced

salt and peper to taste

Risotto all'affumicata

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the smoked pancetta, onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens and becomes golden. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock into the pan. Keep stirring. After about 15 minutes the risotto rice is cooked al dente. Add the sliced smoked cheese and mix well.

Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms lightly in a pan until they release their juices. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the risotto rice without cooking it any further with the mushrooms. Serve each plate immediately with a pinch of ground black pepper.

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Risotto all’ortolana

Risotto is essentially a peasant dish and, as such, it is one of the world’s most satisfying comfort foods. But because it absorbs many tastes and flavors, risotto can be served as a very refined and sophisticated dish, too. This hearty and peasantlike version showcases the rural, and very healthy, side. The abundance of the beans, peas, and other vegetables make it very rich in folate, iron, manganese and dietary fiber – all nutrients that can benefit your health in a variety of ways. After spending some time with the knife work you will have a dish that is at the same time fresh, creamy and light. The ingredients can be easily substituted with other vegetables, depending on what is in season and readily available. But don’t forget to try the creamy and buttery fava bean, it will add its own special taste and texture to the mix.

Risotto all' ortolanaIngredients:

300 gr/ 10 oz fava a.k.a. broad beans

260 gr/ 9 oz  fresh tomatoes, sliced

100 gr/ 3.5 oz frozen peas

3 dl/ 1 1/3 cups risotto rice (Carnaroli)

olive oil

2 stalks of celery, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

1 zucchine, sliced

1 onion, sliced

fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 liter / 4 1/3 cups vegetable stock

140 gr/ 5 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes (optional)

freshly grated parmigiano

a couple of fresh basil leaves

Instructions: 

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion, celery and carrots until the vegetables soften a bit. Add the cubed pancetta and continue frying for a few minutes.

Add the tomatoes, fava beans and the zucchini and keep cooking for about 10 minutes. Then, add the frozen peas with some fresh parsley and cook for further 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock and keep stirring. For Carnaroli rice it takes about 15 minutes to be al dente. Serve each plate with a couple of spoonfuls of parmigiano and fresh flat leaf parsley. Garnish with some basil leaves.

Risotto all' ortolana

Insalata di riso vegetariana

Insalata di riso vegetariana

Basmati rice has been growing in the foothills of the Himalayas for thousands of years. It is a long grain rice type with a firm texture popular not only for its nutty flavor, but for its fragrance. The aroma can be attributed to the fact that the grain is aged to decrease its moisture content. When cooked, the rice is lighter and fluffier than standard white rice, and does not stick together. It is available in both white and brown varieties. China is the world’s largest producer of rice, followed immediately by India. Historically, this expensive rice type and has been favored by emperors and praised by poets for hundreds of years. In this recipe the Basmati rice enhances the flavors it’s mixed with. For best results, take the time to treat the eggplant and the zucchini with coarse sea salt.

Ingredients: 

1 eggplant, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

coarse sea salt

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

1 yellow bell pepper, in cubes

1 red bell pepper, in cubes

salt and black pepper to taste

250 gr/ 8 2/3 oz Basmati rice

fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Insalata di riso vegetariana

Instructions: 

Slice the eggplant and the zucchini and sprinkle coarse sea salt on them. Set them aside for 1 hour. Shake the sea salt off and slice the pieces into smaller cubes.

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic until the onion softens. Add the other vegetables in cubes and continue frying for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set a couple of tablespoonfuls of vegetables aside for later.

Meanwhile, cook the Basmati rice in a pot filled with salted boiling water for about 12 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Mix the vegetables with the rice when they are cool. Present the dish by creating rice towers or other formations. Garnish each plate with the vegetables you set aside. Sprinkle some finely chopped flat leaf parsley on top.

Risi e bisi

Risi e bisi

In its heyday, the powerful maritime state of Venice had contacts with both the inland and diverse and faraway counties and cultures. Therefore the culinary tradition of the city is full of outside influences. Baccalà (dried salted cod) is of Baltic origin, and various spices, black pepper in particular, were very important imports from Asia. The roots of risi e bisi (rice with peas) are in the Arabic world. Soon after its introduction, rice became an integral part of the local cuisine. No one really knows if this dish is a risotto or a soup – the jury is still out on that. But it is, nonetheless, an excellent and nutritious dish to be had especially when fresh peas are in season. This particular recipe interprets risi e bisi more as a risotto, and it is prepared with ham blocks and white rice. Parmigiano gives it a finishing touch.

Ingredients: 

white rice

olive oil

3 shallots, sliced

250 gr/ 8 2/3 oz peas

100 gr/ 3.5 oz ham blocks

salt and pepper to taste

freshly grated Parmigiano

Risi e bisi

Instructions: 

Cook the rice in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain and set aside, but keep it warm.

Heat olive oil in pan and saute the shallots lightly until they soften. Add the ham blocks and the peas and cook further for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the rice together with the peas and ham and the freshly grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Risotto gamberetti e zucchine

Carnaroli rice – nicknamed ‘the caviar of rice’ – is grown in the Italian towns of Novara and Vercelli, located between Milan and Turin. Carnaroli is traditionally used for making risotto, differing from the more common Arborio rice due to its higher starch content and firmer texture. Carnaroli keeps its shape better than other types of rice in the slow cooking process, making for a more textured dish. The extra starch in the Carnaroli rice is responsible for the creaminess of the risotto, so it is important not to wash the rice grains before cooking them. In this particular dish, the chili flakes add a welcome punch to the creaminess of the rice and the onion, and the bite-size zucchini slices should remain firm while the inside is soft, hot and juicy.

Risotto gamberetti e zucchine

Ingredients: 

olive oil

500 gr/ 1 pound large cooked and peeled shrimp

2.5 dl/ 1 cup dry white wine

3-5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 onion, minced

2.5 dl/ 1 cup risotto rice (Carnaroli)

5 dl/ 2 cups vegetable stock

1 zucchini, sliced

1 tsp dry chili flakes

fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Instructions: 

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the large shrimp lightly together with minced garlic and white wine. Set aside but keep the juices the shrimp have released.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the minced onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens and becomes golden. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock and liquid from the pan you used to fry the shrimp. Keep stirring. Add the zucchini slices when the risotto is nearly ready. For Carnaroli rice it takes about 15 minutes to be al dente. At this point, add the already sauteed shrimp and mix without cooking any further. Season with chili flakes and sprinkle flat leaf parsley on each plate.

Risotto gamberetti e zucchine

Risotto ai funghi misti

The Italian cuisine can be best described with the following three words: fresh, regional, and seasonal. Fresh, because only the best and freshest ingredients are ever used. Regional, because every region in Italy has its own distinctly different cuisine with favorite ingredients and cooking methods. And seasonal, because people cook with the best available ingredients in season. So, in the spirit of authenticity, this recipe calls for a mix of seasonal mushrooms. You can use any combination of edible mushrooms from chantarelles to porcini, or oyster mushrooms to shiitake. Commercially sold mushrooms are usually grown in a sterile environment, so rather than washing them you only need to brush away any clinging soil. Don’t peel the mushrooms, because they would lose most of their flavor.

Risotto ai funghi misti

Ingredients: 

200 gr/ 7 oz seasonal mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

2.5 dl/ 1 cup risotto rice

5 dl/ 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1.5 dl/ 2/3 cup dry white wine

1 dl/ 0.4 cup cream

freshly grated parmigiano

fresh thyme

Instructions: 

Saute the mushroom lightly in a pan until they release their juices. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens and becomes golden. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some chicken stock and wine into the pan. Keep stirring. After about 15 minutes the risotto rice is cooked al dente. At this point, add the already fried mushrooms, the cream, parmigiano and fresh thyme. Mix without cooking any further. Sprinkle freshly grated parmigiano and thyme on each plate.

Risotto ai funghi misti

Paella

Paella

Paella, a rice dish similar to risotto, originates from Valencia on the Spanish east coast. Contrary to a popular belief, it is not a Spanish national dish, but rather a Valancian fare deeply rooted in its regional culture. There are three different types of paella: paella valenciana with rice, chicken, rabbit and beans, paella de marisco with rice and seafood without green vegetables, and paella mixta with a combination of meat and sea food together with a variety of vegetables. Paella’s popularity spread in the 20th century and the dish acquired influences from other food cultures outside Spain. Now a mixed paella can include a wide variety of ingredients, such as meat, sausage, seafood, vegetables and seasonings. The mixed paella and its numerous variations remains very popular all over the world, although in Valencia, only the Valencian and the sea food paella are considered authentic. This particular paella mixes the grill taste of the chicken drumsticks with the refined sea food taste and the yummy vegetables. If you have leftovers, serve them cold the next day. Paella’s taste doesn’t improve by reheating it.

PaellaIngredients:

4-6 chicken drumsticks

125 gr/ 4.5 oz bacon

olive oil for frying

3 dl/ 1 1/3 risotto rice

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

5 dl/2 cups chicken stock

3-5 tomatoes

white pepper

paprika powder

3-4 bay leaves

1 red bell pepper

200 gr/ 7 oz peas

140 gr/ 5 oz large cooked and peeled shrimp

200 gr/ 7 oz mussels

freshly ground lemon pepper

fresh lemon, in slices

Instructions: 

Fry the chicken drumsticks slowly in oil and bacon. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the rice grains become glassy. Add the sliced onion and minced garlic, mix well, and continue frying until the onion softens. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Let the mixture simmer on a low heat and season with white pepper, paprika powder, and bay leaves. Once the chicken is cooked through, and the rice is cooked al dente, add the bell pepper and the peas, and at the end the already cooked shrimp and the mussels. Check the taste and garnish with slices of fresh lemon. Serve immediately.

Paella