Stinging nettle risotto

This is my favourite risotto. It has a plenty, but also soft and delicate flavour. Can’t describe this cheap but truly sophisticated dish – you have to cook it and enjoy for yourselves!

You will need (for two people):

200-250 g fresh stinging nettles (just the top part)

2 and a half espresso cups of risotto rice (Carnaroli)

half an onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

meat bouillon or, if you don’t have it, a teaspoon of home-made meat stock cube

a glass of white wine

salt, extra virgin olive oil

Parmesan and double cream for topping

It is made like a normal risotto:

0. Prepare the nettles: wash very carefully (because they will sting you, and because they need an accurate washing) and boil them in salty water. Then strain and squeeze them with your hands (they won’t sting you any more! :D). Chop very finely.

1. Make a soffritto with olive oil and the chopped onion and garlic. When browning, add the nettles and allow them to cook for five minutes, stirring every so often. Add now the stock cube, if you are using it.

2. Add the rice, stir and leave some minutes to roast. Pour the wine, stir again and allow to dry.

3. Cook at least 15 minutes, until ready, by pouring hot bouillon and water. When semi-cooked, taste and add the salt.

4. Turn off the fire and leave your risotto to rest for a couple of minutes. Serve with generous Parmesan and cream.

I’m sure you’ll love it!

Sea fruits risotto

sea fruits risotto

 

Ingredient list:

  • Carnaroli rice (no more than 120 g for a light and romantic dinner in couple)
  • Mixed sea fruits and shells, as you like, ready to cook (200 g) plus some beautiful ones to garnish
  • Parsley
  • Fish bouillon (you can easily make it with some fish and shrimps’ discard)
  • 1 garlic clove and a half
  • A small piece of onion
  • A glass of white wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil, salt and ground black pepper

 

To make the fish bouillon, you can follow the procedure for the beef bouillon. Put fish discard, shrimps’ skins, etc. instead of the beef, and put parsley instead of the Juniper.

 

First, you need to prepare a pot with the boiling bouillon (strained). Then, in a pan make a soffritto with oil, the garlic clove (whole) and the chopped onion, and some leaves of parsley.

Allow the soffritto to brown, then add the rice and stir. Wait some minutes for the rice to roast, add the wine and stir again. When it gets dry, add some bouillon. Keep adding the bouillon, taste and add the salt, until the rice is semi-cooked. Meanwhile, carefully cook the sea fruits to garnish your dish in another pan with oil, garlic and parsley. Add the others sea fruits in the rice pan to cook them with the rice. Wash and chop some parsley leaves. Move the rice away from the fire when is cooked; stir in some ground pepper. You can keep it only a few minutes with a lid before eating it – 2 or 3 (for a S. Valentine’s dinner, I can suggest to move the rice from the flame a bit earlier and suddenly cover it with a lid, so it keeps going on while you are eating the appetizer – about 10 minutes). To serve, arrange the rice in the dishes, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and garnish with the sea fruits.

Home-made veg stock cube

My mother had never bought industrial cubes. Once a year she makes this veg stock to put in little pots and to use all year round to make soffritto, stock for risotto, and so more.

The advantages? Lots.

1) Natural. No glutamate and other chemical aromas.

2) Perfect to make natural-flavoured dishes. Only veg flavour, not modified. More easy than buying and chopping carrots, celery and herbs almost every day.

3) Cheaper than industrial stock cube and high-quality.

4) Ecologic: no packaging, only second-use glass pots.

So, that’s the recipe.

These are my mother’s doses – with these amounts you can offer some pots to your family or friends; otherwise, it’s better to reduce them.

1 kg carrots

1 kg onions

1 kg parsley

1 kg fine salt

700 g celery

2 head of garlic

a handful of basil

a handful of sage

a handful of rosemary

Clean, wash, and dry off a bit all the vegs. Then chop them together very finely (it’s better to do it in the blender). Mix very well the chopped vegs with the salt, and allow the mixture to rest for 24 hours (in a very large bowl or over some dish towels) for the juices to dry off a bit. After this time, arrange the mixture in pots. While filling the pots, be careful not to leave air bubbles: press well with a fork and sometimes bang the bottom of the pot against the table.

Arrange the pots in the larder; when you open a pot, store it in the fridge.

See also: Home-made meat stock cube.

Pumpkin risotto

Voilà my last risotto.

I used, for 2 people:

a piece of pumpkin

170 g of rice for risotto (Carnaroli is the best one because the grain is perfectly shaped for risotto and hard, so it’s difficult to overcook it)

1/2 onion

1 garlic clove

1 glass of white wine

a bit of chopped parsley

olive oil

vegetal cube (I use an home-made one, click here to read the recipe)

Parmesan

Peel the pumpkin (if necessary), wash it and chop it in little cubes. Grab a pan and put in it some tablespoons of olive oil, the chopped onion and the chopped garlic clove. Let brown and add the pumpkin, mix and let cook. When the pumpkin become soft, squash it with a fork. Then add the rice and mix. Wait 1 minute (the fire has to be low) to roast the rice, then add the wine. Wait another minute to roast one more time the rice, then add 1 teaspoon of vegetal cube and some hot water. Mix and let cook. Every so often, mix and add hot water. Try it to adjust in salt and to know when it’s cooked. There is an important thing you have to be careful when making risotto: when risotto is cooked, it hasn’t to be dry and it hasn’t to have too much of the cooking water. You can’t add water when it’s already cooked, because the water won’t amalgamate with the rice. So, be careful and taste the rice often when it’s nearly cooked, to put the right quantity of water in the right moment. When ready, let it to rest for 2 minutes. Then, serve. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and taste with grated parmesan.