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 !

Risotto allo Zafferano e Asparagi

 

fullsizeoutput_522c

 

This is a little different to my previous recipe 🙂

It’s my first cooking video and I wanted to share it with you.

I am cooking for my friends and I am Bringing Nonna to their home sharing with them all her precious advice.

I must say it was harder than I thought, being in front of the camera and trying to be as natural as possible….. Hope you’ll enjoy 🙂

 

Serving 3 people 

 

Ingredients 

250g Arborio rice

800ml Vegetable stock

pinch of salt,

knob of butter

tbs olive oil

half onion

handful of asparagus, sliced

a tsp saffron

 

Preparation 

Place the butter on a no-stick pan, the olive oil and melt in on a low heat, add the onion and simmer until golden. Add the rice and stir it. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. 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 asparagus  Sprinkle the saffron and mix it throughly. Cook for another 2 minutes. The rice will look creamy and will taste “al dente” . Serve it with some fresh parmesan, shavings or grated. Pronto!

 

 

I am just a girl….

IMG_8610

I am still buzzing and overwhelmed by the most mind blowing experience.
I was picked as a volunteer for the UK CEO CookOff where 30 top chefs, 60 CEOs and 600  everyday heroes from schools and hospitals teamed up for the most amazing banquet, raising money to tackle food waste, obesity and malnutrition. A lifetime evening of cooking, fundraising and feasting. The money raised ( over £500.000) will be divided equally between the food education programmes of Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and UKHarvest’s food waste reduction initiatives. It was just incredible!

If you know me in person you can just imagine how excited I was (and I still am) to be part of this lifetime experience and to have the honour to meet and work with my fellow Food Revolution Ambassadors!

Alex from Cheltenham, Thomas from Germany, Jaroslav from Switzerland and myself from Essex ( well, with my Italian /Essex accent!!). We all helped and worked together in teams with the chefs and CEOs to create some of the most amazing dishes, using the freshest and the finest produce and saving the leftovers…. yes, we did get to taste the most delicious food too.

Being in the heart of London amongst the biggest names in the British culinary world, the UK’s top business leaders, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall who attended the CEO CookOff as a Patron of UKHarvest and Jamie, of course! My dream came true, I always wanted to meet him and tell him I am fighting against child obesity and that I’m bringing Nonna Back to the modern families’ tables…and yes I also had to tell him I come from Essex!! well, Sort of 😉

When I saw him in the flesh I realised it was not a dream ……

I have been following Jamie Oliver since I moved to the UK in 1999, he inspired my cooking and I learnt from him that I need to be myself even when I am cooking. This is how I started sharing a few recipes on social media among my friends and writing a food blog was the beginning….. When I joined his Food Revolution 2 years ago and I become an Ambassador for my area I did not know that I would have received all the support from the community and the local school. The concept of Food Revolution really works and it brings people together.

As I walked into Old Billingsgate on Tuesday I felt more energised and inspired than ever, everyone was there for the same reason: the love and passion for food! I am not a chef by all means, but that day I felt like one, the solidarity and the support that everyone showed was indescribable. When you see people smiling, laughing, having a good time you know there is something pretty special about an event like this. I am grateful I experienced such an amazing day, I met some awesome people and I will never forget how it made me feel.
It brought something into my life, that extra boost …
What’s next?

I am just a girl with dreams and I am a believer in dreams do come true….

Please support the CEOCookOff cause http://www.ceocookoff.co.uk

IMG_8598

IMG_8691IMG_8575.JPG

My recipe today is inspired by the colour yellow (just like the #UKHarvest van)

Risotto allo Zafferano Facile Facile 

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

300g Arborio rice

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

white onion, half, finely chopped

70g butter

saffron, 1 bag

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

Preparation

Place the butter on a no-stick pan and melt in on a low heat, add the onion and simmer until golden. Add the rice and stir it. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. 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. Sprinkle the saffron and mix it throughly. Cook for another 2 minutes. The rice will look creamy and will taste “al dente” . Serve it with some fresh parmesan, shavings or grated. 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 !

P.S.2. I like to use the same basic recipe with other flavour combinations: Asparagus and Mushrooms, Broccoli and Sweet corn, Asparagus and Salmon, Prawns and Courgette……and so many more……..

IMG_1382

LARAncini Facili

img_7263

 

What do you do your your left overs rice? I make ARANCINI 🙂

Arancini are originally from Sicily, one of the islands in the Mediterranean. I come from Sardinia. What’s the link between the geographical reference with this dish? Well, I am taking a traditional Sicilian recipe to another level by following the same idea of rice balls covered in bread crumbs and fried but adding a little twist! I am a strong believer of No Food Waste, (my Nonna taught me well) and this dish is great if you have some left overs rice. What type of rice? Any rice, I tried with Risotto, boiled rice or even basmati rice. It always works ! #FoodRevolution #BringNonnaBack

This recipe is made with both mushroom risotto and boiled rice left overs.

Serving 2-4 people

Ingredients

250g rice left overs

150g bread crumbs ( I made my bread crumbs with some stale bread, pinch of salt and a handful of preferably fresh or dry rosemary)

1 large egg beaten

home made pesto ( I always make my own fresh pesto, I have my fresh herbs by my kitchen window, handy for all the emergencies!! Basil and Parsley are my favourite)

olive oil

salt

Preparation

Make up 6/8 medium size rice balls. Make a small hole with a skewer and fill with fresh pesto. Close the hole, dip the rice balls in the egg and cover them with the bread crumbs. Gently fry them in hot olive olive on a flat pan. Keep turning them until golden. Leave to rest on a paper towel, season with a pinch of salt and pepper if you wish….Pronto!!!  Enjoy with some salad or dip them in pesto. They are great for pack lunches or snacks.

 

 

Riso ai Funghi senza Funghi

IMG_1298

Yes, I know the title doesn’t leave much to the imagination (mushroom rice without the mushrooms?????) but this was my first attempt to make Risotto. It all started at Uni when I was a language student and between one lecture and another I would experiment my cookery skills nearly every day. My flat mate Rita would make her famous VOV for dessert ( a creamy liquor made of eggs). Although it was actually a quite strong liquor, the fact that it was home made it made it completely legitimate!!!! I, on the other hand was responsible for the main. The intention was to make a earthy mushroom risotto, but I didn’t get to go out to buy the mushrooms and the only thing that tasted like a mushroom was some “knor” mushroom cubes!!!! Hence why the mushroom flavour without the mushrooms 🙂 After that episode I would carefully add “propel” mushrooms!

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

300g Arborio rice

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

white onion, half,  finely chopped

70g butter

saffron, 1 bag (optional)

150g mushrooms (any type, I would use chestnut mushrooms), sliced

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

Preparation

Place the butter on a no-stick pan and melt in on a low heat, add the onion and simmer until golden. Add the rice and stir it. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. Add the mushrooms and mix them with the rice. 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.  Sprinkle the saffron and mix it throughly. Cook for another 2 minutes. The rice will look creamy and will taste “al dente” . Serve it with some fresh parmesan, shavings or grated. 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 !

IMG_1382

P.S.2. I like to use the same basic recipe with other flavour combinations: Asparagus and Mushrooms, Broccoli and Sweet corn, Asparagus and Salmon, Prawns and Courgette……and so many more……..