Risotto agli Asparagi e Limone

Hands up who loves Risotto?

We doooooo!!! It’s that kind of comfort food, creamy, warm and full of goodness beautiful food that will take you back to Italy, … the best way I would describe it is it’s like receiving a hug on a plate 🙂 and who doesn’t need a hug right now?

You can use any of your favorite vegetables but today we are using ASPARAGI /AH-SPAH-RAH-JEE/ Asparagus (a great source of nutrients, including vitamins A, C and K), with the freshness of a lemon.

Are you ready? PRONTI?

Serving 4 people

Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

350g Arborio rice

500ml vegetable stock or 500ml hot water (1 gelatine type chicken cube to mix in the water)

white onion, half,  finely chopped

50g butter

150g asparagus, sliced (tips left whole)

zest of one lemon ( do not grate the white pith which is bitter and should not be eaten)

2tbs extra virgin olive oil

handful of rest parsley, finely chopped

fresh parmesan, as much as you like!!!!!

Preparation

Place the butter in a non-stick pan and melt it on a low/medium heat, add the onion and simmer until golden , add the rice and stir it in. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. Add the asparagus (just the stems, sliced) and mix them with the rice. Add half of the lemon zest and a pinch of salt, stir everything in. Have your stock ready and make sure it’s hot, alternatively melt the gelatine cube in the hot water and mix it thoroughly. Gradually add the stock in the pan and keep stirring the rice, repeat this until you have used all the stock. Add the tips of the asparagus and mix them in. The rice is starting to grow and absorbing all the liquid, add more stock if it looks too sticky or turn the heat up if it’s too wet, keep mixing it throughly. In a separate bowl mix the rest of the lemon zest, olive oil and the parsley and put it aside.

The rice will look creamy and will taste “al dente”.

Serve it with some fresh parmesan, shavings or grated and pour the olive oil, lemon and parsley dressing. Pronto!

P.S. Rice takes 14/15 minutes to cook, should you have used all of your stock and the rice  feels still quite hard, I would recommend to add a little water but don’t over cook it! Never cook your rice for longer than 15 minutes !

Pollo alla Cacciatora – Hunter Chicken

 

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When it’s cold outside you need a recipe to warm up the whole family, Hunter Chicken is just perfect! In italian we say Pollo all Cacciatora “Hunter Chicken”  /POH-LOH AH-LAH CAH-CHAH-TOH-RAH/ and it is another great recipe that will bring the family together. It reminds me of a winter’s day, about 27 years ago (I would have been 15 years “young” ) and like every teenager coming home from school it was the highlight of my day!! I was always looking forward to coming home, most of all after all those tests and long hours learning about what I though it was boring ( at that time I thought all teachers were evil, I wonder if it’s what my students think about me now!!) … as I walked in, the whole house smelt divine but I was far too tired to chat about my day. A huge pot of Hunter Chicken was ready on the table with some fresh bread to mop up the dishes ( SCARPETTA  /SCAR-PEH-TAH/ ) , the first bite and slowly I got my speech back. It was my kinda comfort food, when I say “Comfort” it means that not only did it bring the family to sit together but it also brought the comfort I needed as a teenager to speak up, to chat, to talk….

Now that I am a Mamma  I am on the other side of the table, preparing my Hunter Chicken for my family, hoping that it’ll help my teenage children to open up and talk about their day. Bringing families together is what my food is all about 🙂

Serving 6

Ingredients

1 kg Chicken (thighs and/or drumsticks)

3 carrots, diced

3 celery sticks, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, whole

handful of rosemary

2 tins of plum tomatoes

100g white wine

100g cappers

salt 1/2 tsp

olive oil, 3/4 tbs

Preparation

In a large saucepan heat the the olive oil and add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes until the skin is golden. Add the carrots, celery, onion, salt, garlic and rosemary. Pour the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates. Add the tomatoes , the cappers and cook on a low heat for 40 minutes. If needed add more salt. Pronto!!

Serve with a loaf of bread and steamed or panfried vegetables. Roast potatoes are great too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polpette al Sugo – Meatballs in Red Sauce

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Polpette = Meatballs = Italian Comfort Food 🙂

Nonna and Mamma used to make Meatballs all the time and I can still remember the excitement about dinner time!

In a cold day I used to love coming home from school to find one of my favourite dishes, Pasta and Meatballs in a rich tomato sauce…. awww it tasted amazing!!!

Today I am making this dish for my family and I hope I can inspire your family too!

#BringNonnaBack and Bring Families Together ❤️

Serves 4/6 people

 

Ingredients for the Polpette-Meatballs

250g beef Mince, good quality
250g pork mince
1 egg
100g bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
handful of parsley, finely chopped
l pinch of salt
sunflower oil for frying

Preparation
In a large bowl place the mince and add the egg, parsley, garlic, salt and bread crumbs. Mix all together with a fork or with your hand making sure you combine all the ingredients. If the mix feels too wet you can add some more bread crumbs, if it feels too dry add a splash of milk. Once the mix is smooth you can start rolling it into small balls, size of a 10p coin. I tent to make them a bit small as it’s easier for the children to eat them all in one go!

Option 1: Heat some sunflower oil in a large pan (filling all the bottom of the pan )and place 6/8 meatballs at the time. Cook them for 4/5 minutes, keep stirring them until golden. Prepare a large dish with some kitchen roll on the side and once the meatballs are ready to come out the pan, drain them and place them on the  kitchen roll to rest and to lose some of the oil. Add a pinch of salt. Keep doing the same until you have cooked all the meatballs.
Option 2: Preheat the oven at 200 degrees, place the meatballs on a flat oven tray and put the in the oven for 25 minutes until golden.

For the Sugo-Sauce

Ingredients
Half of a medium white onion, finely chopped
800/900g of plain tomato Passata (You can find passata in any good supermarket, it’s in a carton or in a bottle)
A handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
Olive oil, 2 tbs
Salt, a pinch
Sugar, a pinch (to lower the acidity of the tomatoes)
Preparation

Heat a large pan, add the olive oil and the onion. Simmer the onion only for a few minutes untill golden, don’t cook it for too long as it can easily burn.
Add the passata, the salt and sugar and cover with a lid.
PLAN B: if you haven’t got any passata 2 tins of chopped or plum tomatoes will do! Blend them first if possible and pour them into the oil, follow the instructions as before
Turn the heat down and let it cook for 10 minutes, stirring it every now and again.
Finally add your basil and let the sauce embrace the leaves… your Sugo is ready!
Place the meatballs into the sauce, make sure they are all covered, put the lid on and  keep cooking the sauce and the meatballs for another 10 minutes on a low heat.
Enjoy your Polpette with some fresh bread or pasta. Buon Apettito!