RESCUE RISOTTO IN A BUSY SATURDAY

risotto-fine

Last Saturday my boyfriend and I were so busy between house furniture shops and housekeeping works that we couldn’t even find the time to go to the supermarket and buy something for lunch.

A pumpkin coming directly from the fields around the small town we live in was looking at me since several days, so I decided I had to prepare something by using that lovely gift coming directly from this warm beginning of Autumn!

I opened the fridge, scanned the shelves and found the following “delicious” ingredients:

  • An half red onion, remaining from a tomato and vegetables sauce prepared 2 days before, so still in good conditions;
  • An half red chicory, remaining from a quiche with brie and smoked ham prepared the weekend before…so not in very good conditions;
  • A chicken wurstel, that honestly is far from being an example of “nouvelle cuisine”, but it necessarily had to be used since it was opens since 2-3 days (I use wurstel to force my dog to take pills);
  • Brown rice (in general I prefer brown rice, brown pasta and brown bread since they are tastier and healthier than their white “friends”);
  • A bottle of Prosecco, always available and ready to use;
  • A 30 months old piece of Parmigiano Reggiano.

 

Looking at that perfect combination of fresh and genuine raw materials (…) I understood that I had the complete ingredients selection to make a very good…risotto with Pumpkind and Red Chicory!!!

 

Therefore, let’s introduce a new recipe I create just using the ingredients I found at home:

 

RISOTTO WITH BROWN RICE, PUMPKIN AND RED CHICORY

 

Ingredients (for 2 people):

 

  • Brown rice 150g
  • 1 table spoon of Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Red onion 30g
  • Pumpkin 100g
  • Red Chicory 50g
  • A half wurstel (medium size)
  • ¼ glass of Prosecco
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (at you pleasure)
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

 

 

Preparation:

 

Warm the extra virgin olive oil in a nonstick pan (with high sides), chop the onion and add it to the warm oil after 1 minute.

Reduce heat and wait for the onion to darken, in the meantime cut the cured pumpkin in small squared pieces and wash the Red Chicory (by eliminating the dark brown parts of the leaves, if present). As soon as the onion becomes darker put the mix of chopped pumpkin and red chicory, raise the heat at a medium level and cover with a lid.

risotto1

Cook the mix for 5 minutes, then open the lid and add 2 fingers (1/4 glass) of white wine. Make it completely evaporate, add 2-3 pinches of salt, the wurstel (chopped in very small pieces) then fill the pan of water until 1/3 of the deepness. As soon as water boil add the rice and cover, cook for 10 minutes and stir after the first 5 minutes, then keep the lid open until the rice is cooked.

risotto-e-acqua

Brown rice takes about half an hour to be completely cooked, you have to continue to add hot water as it keeps to absorbe it. When the rice is cooked (you will notice that by checking its consistency, that has to be dense and creamy), switch off the fire, add grated Parmigiano Reggiano as you wish, a nut of butter and 2-3 pinches of salt and pepper.

 

risotto2

 

Your risotto is ready to be served…and it’s really delicious J

ITALIAN’S MOST WANTED: HOW TO COOK TORTELLINI – THE EASY AND TASTY WAY

tortellini-con-panna

Have you ever tried to cook Tortellini with cream at home? Ok, I must admit that Tortellini with cream isn’t the most authentic and genuine way of preparing Tortellini, here where Tortellini were born you’re “kindly invited” to love them only with meat broth… But come on, there is a reason if Tortellini with cream have become so popular over the years and the reason is that they are as good as Tortellini with broth and, for some people that won’t never admit it, they’re even better! I AM ONE OF THOSE, I MUST CONFESS ;)

Now in Italy very few people are able to prepare homemade Tortellini and, lucky me, my grandma is one of them. However, since this blog is aimed to help foreign people in getting familiar with Italian kitchen, I will tell you some tricks I apply at home to make frozen or fresh packed Tortellini as similar as possible to the traditional homemade recipe. The secret is cooking the pasta in the right way and preparing the cream before without putting it directly at the end.

 

Here you are my personal suggestions, just try and let me know:

  1. Even if you will dress them with cream you need to cook them in the meat broth. Broth can be prepared by melting broth powder in the boiling water or buying a ready to use broth in a tetrapack. Since the final dressing will be cream it will be very difficult to recognize the difference between prepared and homemade broth, however the tortellini will be very tasty! Then there are 2 different preparations options, depending on the Tortellini you use, if frozen or fresh.

–          If you cook frozen Tortellini just put them on boiling water as they are. Do not defreeze them, the pasta will lose its shape and will become like glue, so in few minutes they will all get stuck together like a unique piece! Frozen Tortellini will be cooked when they start coming to the surface in the boiling broth, you will have to pull off each group of tortellini as soon as you see them, as they might have different cooking times depending on the freeze degree and on the pasta thickness. However, you should be able to pull off from water all the Tortellini in about 2 minutes.

–          If you cook fresh Tortellini hopefully you bought a product that, without being homemade, can be considered as similar as possible to the homemade one, therefore the foil is supposed to be thin. Boiling thin foil Tortellini is a hazardous operation, if you are late of even 15 seconds in pulling them off from water (and in most cases I’m sure you will be J) they will get completely destroyed!

So you’ll have to cook them directly on the pan you will use to dress and serve them, just put them in a finger of boiling broth at the beginning and, if they start getting dry before the cooking time written on the pack ends, just add very few quantities of broth until the end.

  1. Prepare the cream. And avoid to spread it over the pasta as it is. Cream needs to be warmed just 5 minutes before the Tortellini are ready (not before, it doesn’t need to be cooked). Then when it becomes warm you can add a spoon of broth to make it more liquid. Some people like to add butter, but personally I prefer not to mix too many flavors, furthermore butter is very is too fat and it’s not very popular in Italian kitchen… Finally, add a pinch of salt, a touch of nutmeg powder and some grated cheese. As you can easily understand I use only Parmigiano Reggiano, that in my city is easily available and not too expensive (you can find a good 30m old Parmigiano at 20-25 euros per kilo), so I always have 1-2 kilos of it in my refrigerator. But when travelling abroad I saw that Parmigiano Reggiano (the real one, not the one called “Parmesan”) can cost 40-45 Euros per kilo for a product only 24 months old! So I suggest that you use a seasoned, hard-paste, cow cheese following your taste.

Now you’re ready to complete the preparation of your Tortellini: just put them in the pan where you prepared the cream if you’re pulling them off from water (frozen option), or spread over them the cream you prepared in the case you cooked them in a pan (fresh option). Then warm for other 30 seconds, mix and serve dressing each dish with the last spoon of grated cheese.

Mmmmmhhhhhhhh……….:)