Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An extraordinary dinner on an ordinary weekday

Susanne and Per Koch invited me on a thank-you-for -taking-care-of-our-cats dinner, as I had fed the two baby cats Timian (thyme) and Basilikum (basil), while they were in New York. For this I got this great dining and wining and a large Will & Grace mug for my morning coffee.

Dinners at the Koch residence is predictable in the best sense of the word. You know you are served the most tasteful, well prepared food ever, as the entree - Coppa de Parma and Italian Salami with black peppercorns, very thinly sliced. Served with fresh Italian bread, good butter and cornichons - you need not say more!!

To this I was served a glass of cold dry white wine. Perfect. The reason why we had white wine to the cured meats, was that Susanne had her arborio rice, stock, large prawns, and asparagus ready to make risotto.

Risotto is seriously good food. You can make it in many different ways, but do remember to always use arborio rice. This glutinous variety cannot be substituted by any other rice as it creates the most perfect creamy consistency to the dish.

Use butter and olive oil, add some onion, and rice and stir until each grain of rice is covered by the oil/butter. Then pour a glass of dry white wine and stir until evaporated. Then add stock. You can use fish, chicken and even vegetable stock. Susanne had made stocks from the asparagus stocks - a great idea!! Then add a ladle or two of stock and stir until the grains has soaked up the liquid. Add stock the necessary number of times until rice is tender, but still a little al dente. The fry the prawns lightly and do not overcook as seafood tends to get tough. Then add steamed asparagus and the prawns to the risotto and allow to warm through. At this stage I usually add a little cream and some parmeggiano.

And the wine! A Barolo Niwasco Bersano 2003. Not your typical Italian wine, as it is in a completely other league than many of the light, red table wines you drink to pasta or pizza.

Made in the Piedmont region, from the Nebbiolo grape it had a very rich taste of blackcurrants or blackberries and very characteristic tannins. This is not the wine you enjoy with your pasta. Try it with meat. It worked great with the rich risotto.

As Susanne has a sweet tooth, we ended the meal with a
fruit salad made from apples, pears, and raisins in a syrup made with vanilla, and served with Ice Cream.


I will definitely volunteer to babysit the cats another time. Getting such a meal for just giving to cute cats food and drink is such a reward.