Friday, 9 March 2012


Although my first love is Thai I seem to be leaning towards Italian this weather.  Perhaps I'm being influenced more than I think by my current choice of reading material, Anthony Capella's Food of Love which is in part, a modern take on Cyrano de Bergerac.

 In Capella's reworking of the tale, Tomasso is a waiter who in an attempt to woo the object of his affection, Laura-an American art student-enlists the help of his best friend Bruno-a chef- after overhearing a telephone conversation in which she agrees with her friend she will only date someone who can really cook.  Unbeknown to Tomasso, Bruno has already fallen in love with the same girl after seeing her at the market in Rome.  Bruno's trips to the markets and to purchase fresh seafood at the shore and meat from local farmers have me salivating.  His insistence however is always that fresh and simple produce maketh the dish.

A lot of people assume risottos take too much time and are difficult to cook.  Not so.  As Bruno says they only rely on simple and flavourful ingredients. My favourite risotto is alla Milanese.  An authentic Italian Milanese dictates the use of bone marrow to add depth of flavour but it's omission makes it no less delicious.  The inclusion of saffron gives the dish an amazing colour and it's satisfyingly filling without being stodgy.

This my version but you can play around with it.  Prawns and scallops taste fab in this dish or add some wine, replace the saffron with garlic and use pork and asparagus.  Sage and squash is another delish combo.  See what I mean?  Get experimenting!



1 1/2 cups of risotto rice
1 onion chopped finely
15g butter
750 ml chicken stock
300g chicken breast diced into small pieces (you can use cooked/leftover chicken if you prefer)
few threads of saffron
chunk of Italian cheese, grated.
zest of 1/2 a lemon.
frozen peas (optional)


Sweat off the chopped onions in butter.  Once translucent add rice and stir to ensure it's coated in butter.
Now begin to add your stock, just a ladleful at a time, and continue to stir until it all the liquid has been absorbed adding more and repeating the process until the rice is almost cooked.  If you feel you need to add more stock then do so.

At this stage add your diced chicken breast, a few threads of saffron, the lemon zest, grated cheese and frozen peas if using.  Fold in to risotto.

For serving you can grate some more cheese on top.

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