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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Last 7 Days of Cooking #1

Wait for a moment! If you are looking for recipes for the pictures below, I’m sorry but they are not there (at least yet). This new project – Last 7 days of cooking – will only show you pictures of food I cooked in the last week. I know it might be unfair to share only the results without the recipes but, frankly speaking, I do not have them ready! But I’m working on it 🙂

Let me make it clear why I started this. I tend to buy certain ingredients every time I go grocery shopping – for instance, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, celery, eggs and so on – so I instinctively cook similar dishes very often. I thought that posting my meals here could help me cook the same ingredients in different ways and make a better meal plan. That’s because people are looking at my meals 😉 Does it make sense? Anyway, I hope that this new project will foster ideas for healthy and varied food. Let’s see what happened in the last 7 days!

Lentil stew with bay leaves

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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 Easter Lunch

I had an early Italian Easter lunch with friends a few days ago. I tried to get all the ingredients from Italy, and I managed to find most of them, even though the shank of lamb I got was from New Zealand.

Starter, Bresaola with Arugula and Grana

I started with bresaola with arugula and shaved Grana Parmesan. Bresaola is an air-cured beef meat which is typical of northern Italy, and it is usually eaten this way as an appetizer.

First course: Mini Italian Easter Pie

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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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