The power of risotto

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My delicious yellow risotto

Back in the kitchen, in need for comfort food.

One of my favourite comfort food is saffron risotto, easy and quick to make, smells and tastes delicious and it’s so fulfilling that you don’t really want anything else. If all the food was truly nourishing…

My ritual when I need comfort is very simple: open the cupboard, where I can always find a bag of rice (preferably Carnaroli, it’s the perfect one for al dente risotto), some dry saffron, this one was from Tesco, a bit of onion, some olive oil and stock (tonight I used the Knorr one, Stock Pot Beef). The next 20 minutes are spent cutting the onion very thin, so it will mostly melt when you add some oil and briefly sautee’ it. Then add the risotto and toast it, this phase is really important as it seals the rice and prepares it for the next phase. The rice will have to be translucent at this point, not opaque as when you add it to the sauteed onion.

In the meantime, you have prepared your stock, very easily, by dissolving the stock in a pan with some water (this is what you will add to the rice, little by little until it reaches your desired consistency). It is important that you keep the stock boiling, as you don’t want to add cold stock to the rice, it will stop the process and it won’t cook properly.

When the rice is translucent, you can add a bit of wine (in this case I had some white leftover, so I added the white wine. You may have red, or champagne, that will do…just a little though, and it’s important to wait until it is all evaporated, and to continue stirring, as it may leave some strong flavour and alcohol taste otherwise.

Then start adding the broth, little by little, stir and look as the rice absorbs it and start getting softer and softer. On a small glass, you will now dissolve some saffron with two or three tablespoons of hot broth: this will create a golden liquid that you will then add to the cooking rice. This will give it the saffron colour and taste, and by having it dissolved in the broth before, it will uniformly mix with the rice. Continue adding broth until the rice has the consistency you prefer (I like mine “al dente” but you may want it “all’onda” which means literally “wavy” so a bit more liquid and soft).

At this point, you may want to add some parmesan if you like it. I didn’t with mine as I want the full saffron flavour and nothing else. But in any case, the last step and my grandpa secret was to turn off the gas, put a clean tablecloth on the pan and let it sit for 3minutes. The tablecloth will let the steam evaporate, so the rice doesn’t get too watery, but at the same time it will seal the taste and end the process adding flavour to your rice.

Enjoy!

#risottogiallo #risottozafferano #saffronrisotto #risottoforever #foodislife #thementorkitchen #comfortfood #dinnerisready

Popeye’s granita

When a food reminds us of one of our strenghts

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Sicilian strawberry granita and freshly baked brioscia: yummy!

Sicilian granita and brioscia, sweet memories of summer holidays: I was 18 when I spent a couple summers in Sicily and enjoyed the delicious food and the amazingly welcoming people there.

Sometimes some foods remind us of special moments, when we felt at our best, when one of our strengths was at its highest, and we could use it to be and act better.

What if we continue reminding our inner selves about this special strength of us through food? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had our own version of Popeye’s spinach, and just by eating that food, or cooking it, we resume that strength and remind ourselves to use it?

For me granita and brioscia is a strong reminder of a time when I was careless, young, when the world was at my feet and I had just experienced my first flight (of sooooo many, countless by now). I still felt like that this morning, when I enjoyed one strawberry granita and a freshly baked brioscia sitting in the sun.