Thursday, April 17, 2008

Venetian style risotto

Enjoy Food & Travel co-writers Susanne and Per Koch visited Venice a few weeks ago. As the three of us went to visit our friends Øyvind Lodten and Stian Sagerud last weekend, she had brought a few culinary ideas with her and a packet of Vialone Nano. Wicked!

Vialone Nano is a rice variety grown in the Mantua and Veneto region in Italy, and is particularly good to prepare creamy risottos.

Read more on Vialone Nano on Italian Cooking and Living.

It is an art to prepare risotto, but you must use an Italian risotto rice variety in your preparation, as a good end result will rely on it. You will most certainly get an Arborio rice in the supermarket where you live.

It is important to use a good stock, I prefer vegetable or chicken stock. Risotto is made with what you have at hand. Susanne made a Venetian variety. She coated the Vialone Nano rice by lightly frying them in a good olive oil. Then she added white wine, lemon juice and good vegetable stock. When making risotto you have to stir constantly, unless you want the grain of rice to stick to the bottom.

Susanne made a strictly vegetarian risotto, but vividly described a risotto she had eaten in Venice a few weeks before - frutti di mare, made with fish stock and different crustacea and fish caught in the Adriatic Sea.

Our risotto was simple - a taste of wine, lemon juice, stock - topped with grated parmeggiano, toasted pine nuts, and grated lemon zest.

Less is more, and this delicious dish proves it to the fullest.

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