Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is a classic Italian rice dish made with rice and hot stock with several different ingredients (such as mushrooms, seafood, and so on). It is particularly popular in northern Italy because that area is suitable for cultivation of rice. The best risotto should be creamy, rich, and with a just right consistency (enough cooked, but not mushy). Normally people cook risotto with special short-grain rice which contains a lot of starch and can absorb enough liquid. Those varieties include: arborio, vialone nano, carnaroli, and so on.

Porcini are one of my favorite ingredients especially for risotto because they have a unique woody flavor and aroma – though I love all mushrooms. It is easier to find dried porcini rather than fresh ones. If so, you can use not only the mushroom but also the soaking water as stock for your cooking. There is nothing to throw away. Cool, isn’t it?

Making risotto is not difficult, but it needs time. Anyway, you need to know the basic steps and some best practices. If you’ve never cooked risotto before, that’s fine. However, I suggest to read my tips and the additional links below as they will help you to better understand. Once you know how to cook risotto, you will be able to make it not only with porcini but also with other ingredients with minor modifications. Let’s see how!

Porcini and carnaroli rice

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Korean Potato Pancake (감자전)

One of the main root crops in Finland is potato. Most grocery shops sell them at a low price during all seasons. Potatoes are not only cheap, but also have very good nutritional values. So I’m happy because I’m a big eater of potato.

I grew up in Ganwon-do province in South Korea. This province has a natural environment surrounded by spectacular landscapes, and potato is a very typical crop, as in Finland. It should not surprise how many different recipes exist for potatoes. Among them, the Korean potato pancake is one of my favorites. When I was a little girl, I used to spend the whole summer and winter vacations at my grandmother’s house in GangNeung, so she usually took care of my afternoon snack! When the weather got chilly, she asked me if I wanted to have Korean potato pancakes or Gamja jeon (감자전). My answer was always yes! According to her, this food is especially good when the weather is cold, because the pancake is warm and chewy! As you know, nothing can beat grandmother’s food! 😉

Her potato pancake is super easy. She used only potatoes and oil. Can you believe that a pancake does not need flour and eggs? But, it’s true! I would like to share my grandmother’s potato pancake! Actually the recipe below is my own, so you will need some more ingredients (even though not so many). By the way, I also need to mention the Korean potato grater! I have some pictures of it! I hope you will enjoy them.

The main ingredient: potato

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Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino

Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino is one of the simplest, fastest and classic Italian dishes. I fall in love with Italian food with this dish: I was amazed how the right amount of ingredients can bring out a very distinct flavor. It has already been my favorite Italian dish since long ago. However, when I was in Italy, I noticed that it did not require a lot of olive oil and garlic as I had seen in many recipes. As you know, too much is as bad as too little! You will need only a few ingredients – spaghetti, garlic (aglio), oil (olio), chili (peperoncino) and Italian parsley – in the right amount.

Spaghetti, garlic, chili and Italian parsley

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Mini Italian Easter Pie

It’s already been two weeks since Easter, and now it looks like too late to still talk about it. However, learning how to make an Italian Easter pie could be good for the next year!

Easter is one of the biggest holidays in Italy. In Italian Easter is Pasqua and the Italian Easter pie is called torta pasqualina. A traditional Easter pie consists of 33 (as the age of Jesus Christ) very thin layers and is filled with ricotta and either chard or artichoke. My mini Italian Easter pie, however, was made with only 4 layers and was baked in a souffle dish instead of a pie pan. That’s because I wanted to serve it as an individual dish to my guests with no leftovers eventually! I have made this mini pie in several ways. For example, I have tried both frozen and fresh spinach (it did not matter so much, even though fresh ingredients are always my favorite choice), regular eggs and quail eggs (regular ones were visually more appealing on the top of the pie) and different amounts of ingredients such as ricotta, marjoram, and so on. I will show the recipe which gave the best result. Let’s look at the main ingredients!

Fresh spinach, nutmeg, onion, eggs, marjoram, parmesan, ricotta and organic flour

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Italian Bread

Do you know what “Italian Bread” means? Italian bread is typically known as unsweetened, yeast-leavened, and baked into a thick oblong loaf with tapered ends. Recently, I have been baking this Italian Bread  twice a week. After constantly practicing for more than 10 times, the result turned out very good and I even got full approval from my Italian friends.  So what are you waiting for? You are going to have so much fun with this!

Wheat flour, salt, fresh yeast, sugar, lukewarm water and extra-virgin olive oil

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Anise Almond Biscotti

Biscotti is the plural form of biscotto. The term originates from the latin word biscoctus, meaning “twice-baked.” It defines oven baked goods that are baked twice, so they are very dry and can be stored for long time. There are many different biscotti recipes nowadays. However, this one is the best among those I’ve tried. I usually have some biscotti and a cup of caffellatte for breakfast. It sounds like a very small meal, but actually it is not! It will make your day!

Why don’t you try it with me? Let’s get started!

All the ingredients at a glance

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Roasted Red Bell Peppers

Beautiful Red Bell Pepper in Winter

I was lucky enough to get these red bell peppers on sale at grocery store yesterday. So I got plenty of them and decided to make roasted red bell peppers. It just made my day!

Ingredients

  • Red bell peppers
  • Cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil

Red Bell Peppers

Preparation

  1. Wash red bell peppers and cut them as you desire. but remember to remove  the seeds and membranes inside.
  2. Preheat your oven 230°C (475°F) to broil and preheat a few minutes. Continue reading