this is my first attempt at risotto (and I felt really quite happy about the result). Although I live less than a two hour drive from Milan, I have never really made risotto, I used to only be an observer of the process. I guess I found it a boring dish for a reason I am still trying to figure out. I guess that leaving for a week to Portugal gave me some new stimulus in trying out new recipes, I feel so refreshed. By the way, I totally recommend Portugal as a destination, from the food to the people and also the whole city of Lisbon, all is really beautiful. I particularly liked the little streets and the beautiful buildings decorated with tiles that come in just so many colours and designs. It was a great opportunity to practice my photography skill (which are still at a beginner level).
Between the 1300 and the 1700 rice was attributed one unique way of cooking: and that is in water. It was in 1779 that a cook from Macerate in the Marche region in Italy wrote about gently fried a bit of butter and wetting the rice with broth. Very soon the technique became more elaborated by adding, for example, some chopped onion. Through time risotto became more complex but it was in 1929 that a well known cook in Milan named Felice Luraschi published a recipe book called “Il Nuovo Cuoco Milanese Economico” (or “The New Economic Milanese Cook”). The recipe called for rice with butter, beef marrow, saffron, nutmeg, stock and completed with grated cheese (source – Italian: http://www.risottoallamilanese.com/ )
Grilled Zucchini and Bacon Risotto
Recipe for 2
Time: 35-40 minutes
8 slices of streaky bacon
20g butter (plus a small teaspoon for a finishing touch)
100g risotto rice
30g parmesan cheese
4-5 basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Slice the zucchini at an angle (about 1 cm thick). Pour one teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat a griddle pan (if you don’t have one just use an normal non-stick pan). Once the zucchini slices are coloured on both sides remove from the heat and set them aside.
Bring the broth to a boil and set aside.
Heat another pan and add the bacon to cook until brown and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe the pan and on a low heat add the butter along with the onions . Without letting the onions brown cook them until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook for another 4-5minutes, stir often until the grains are translucent. Add 1/3 of the broth and stir often until all the liquid has been absorbed. Once the rice looks more on the dry side add the second third and stir regularly again. Finally, repeat the operation of adding broth for a last time and stir until rice has basically soaked up the liquid.
Add the grated cheese and incorporate it in the preparation. Cut the bacon and the zucchini into small pieces and chop the basil. Add the three ingredients with to the rice and blend them in. To make your risotto richer here is when you can add a bit more butter. Eventually correct to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve and drizzle a little bit of olive oil and optionally some parmesan shavings.