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Cover: Mamma Mia!

Recipes with rice

25Jun 12

Pigeon Risotto

Pigeon risottoOne species that’s learned to live alongside us pretty well is the pigeon. In our towns and cities, they’re hardly an endangered species! They’ve often been seen as pests, and they certainly can be something of a nuisance. But, seriously, if you can get hold of pigeon, then why not try this delicious risotto recipe? (For a veggie risotto, try this asparagus risotto recipe.)

Ingredients:

For the risotto:

  • 600ml stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 small/medium onion (or half a large onion)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 200g Arborio rice
  • 1 medium glass of dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 60g grated Parmesan cheese

For the pigeon ragout:

  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 Pigeon (prepared by your butcher)
  • Half a medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced very thinly
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 glass of red or white wine, according to preference
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1 – Since it’ll take significantly longer than the rice, start with the bird. In a casserole or similar type dish, combine two-thirds of the olive oil with the wine and some salt and pepper. Place the pigeon into the liquid, and put in an oven preheated to 180°C. Cook for 25 minutes, then remove, place the meat in a bowl to cool and reserve the cooking liquid.

2 – With the remainder of the olive oil in the casserole dish, fry the herbs gently over a low-medium heat for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Gently sauté the garlic for a couple more minutes before adding the pigeon. After a few minutes, pour in the wine mixture and gently simmer for up to an hour to reduce the liquid and cook the bird.

3 – Once the pigeon’s simmering, make a start on the risotto: heat the stock in a pan. Melt about one third of the butter in another deep pan over a low heat. Add the olive oil and then gently sauté the onion, before adding the garlic. In 5-10 minutes the onion and garlic will be ready; add the rice and fry gently for a couple of minutes.

4 – Pour in the white wine. When the wine has cooked off, start adding stock, a ladle-full (or two) at a time, stirring all the while. Risotto rice should be a little like al dente pasta: soft, but with some bite. When the rice is cooked, add the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese.

5 – Hopefully, if you’ve timed it right, your pigeon and risotto are now both ready. Risotto rice needs to sit for a few minutes before serving: once it’s rested a little, mix in the pigeon ragout, and serve in warmed bowls.

Pigeon is sufficiently robust; it can be paired with lighter red wines, rosés, or more obviously, dry whites like pinot grigio. But I like the peppery Gruner Veltliner grape, associated more with Austria than Italy, I know, but very versatile with food!

Serves: 2
Total Time – 1 hour 30 minutes (preparation, 15 minutes; cooking time, up to 1 hour and 15 minutes)

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11Apr 12

Risotto alla parmigiana

Risotto alla ParmigianaRisotto alla parmigiana translated to English is Parmesan risotto. This is one of the first dishes I learned to prepare before I got married, and has worked very well for me because my wife just loves it! After a hard day at work, risotto is perfect if you don’t want to cook for too long but always enjoy a tasty meal.

You may also remember my affection for my wife’s mushroom risotto, and you can find the recipe on this same blog. But risotto alla parmigiana is the original Italian classic – the Father of all risottos and is also the basic risotto recipe from which all others have been and are developed, such as this British asparagus and pea risotto.

Ingredients:

  • 35 g butter (1 knob of 20g and 1 knob of 15g)
  • 200g Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • ½ onion (finely chopped)
  • 50ml white wine
  • ½L of hot beef stock
  • 25g grated Parmesan cheese

Method:
1. Put 20g of the butter in a big pan and melt it.
2. Add the chopped onion at medium heat for about 2-4 minutes until soft.
3. Add a spoonful of stock and leave it for 1 minute.
4. Then add the rice and stir until the rice is completely mixed with the butter. Keep stirring for about a minute.
5. Add the wine and keep stirring to evaporate it.
6. Add the stock and turn the heat down to low. You should add the stock at the rate of 2 spoonfuls at a time, and when this is absorbed, add more. Continue doing this for about 10 minutes. Stir continuously.
7. Taste the rice every minute until you feel the rice is tender outside but a bit hard on the inside. Stir regularly so that the risotto doesn’t stick to the bottom part of the pan.
8. If you see that the stock has evaporated, add a bit more, but be careful not to add too much to avoid the risotto being watery.
9. When you feel the rice is tender on the outside but slightly hard in the middle, add the Parmesan cheese and stir for few seconds.
10. Then turn the cooker off, add all the remaining 15g of butter and stir until it is completely melted.
11. Don’t serve immediately – the risotto should rest for a couple of minutes.

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05Mar 12

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom RisottoWhen I am hungry and cold, there is no better way to fill my belly and warm me up than with a steaming hot rice dish such as my mushroom risotto. I am also partial to a squash and garlic risotto. The other day, I came home from work extremely tired and ravenous. My wife took one look at my weary face and without a word, started preparing my favourite risotto.

 

Earthy mushrooms combined with creamy Arborio rice, the zesty citrus tang of orange zest, and the aniseed-like flavour of fennel. Her care and this risotto made my day much better.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried Boletus mushrooms
  • 225g Chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 bulb of fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 1 celery stick trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 1 medium orange
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 150-200g Arborio rice
  • Salt and white pepper

Method:

1 – In a small pan, soak the Boletus mushrooms for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside, covered. Prepare the fennel: trim, remove the leaves – setting them aside for later – and thinly slice the bulb.

2 – In a large pan bring the stock to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium sized casserole dish, add the sliced fennel bulb, Chestnut mushrooms, celery and leek, and gently fry for three or four minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften, before stirring in the mayonnaise. Allow about a minute for this to all combine over a very low heat, stirring all the while. Now add the rice, turning the heat up a little but keeping it gentle, and stir regularly as the rice cooks for another two minutes.

3 – Add the stock slowly, one ladle-full at a time, and stirring all the while. Continue this process for about 20 to 25 minutes, testing the rice towards the end. It should have a creamy texture, with the rice tender but firm.

4 – Grate the zesty rind from the orange, and then slice and extract the juice, mixing both into the rice.

5 – Add the Boletus mushrooms and mix together for about a minute or two. Season to taste with salt and a little white pepper. Serve garnished with the fennel leaves.

We sometimes add Parmesan shavings to this meal and serve with a nice crusty white loaf. A peppery white wine from the Rhone valley also goes well with this dish.

Serves 2 – approx 60 minutes:

15 minutes preparation, 45 minutes cooking.

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About Gianluca Dievole

My Badge: Assistant

About

Buon' giorno! Welcome to my Italian food blog. I am Italian, and proud of it! Italy has so much going for it: with one foot quite literally in the beautiful Mediterranean, my country’s climate and location give us an amazing cornucopia of ingredients, which is why our culture is steeped in a hearty romantic culinary tradition. My wife and I love our food, so all my recipes are designed for two. If you're cooking for an average sized modern family - perhaps not the traditional extended Italian family - just double the quantities.