Tag: ingredients

How to make risotto: ingredients and steps of the perfect recipe – Italian Cuisine

How to make risotto: ingredients and steps of the perfect recipe

The whole world envies us the risotto! And the first course more elegant than Italian cuisine and, on closer inspection, it is not just a recipe but one cooking technique articulated which, over time, has also undergone some noteworthy evolution. Knowing the ingredients and preparation steps allows you to apply them to countless variations. Are you ready for a review of the rules salary for top risotto?

Let's start with the 8 short steps to make a perfect risotto.
1 You do the sautéed in oil or butter (if required).
2 Yup tough sautéed rice, in fat alone or dry.
3 Yup fades possibly with wine (or other liquid), letting it evaporate well.
4 You start to pay the boiling broth, one ladle at a time, mixing well after each addition.
5 Another broth is added only after the previous one is consumed.
6 It goes out, the ingredients are combined for the creaming and blends well.
7 It adjusts if necessary salt.
8 You put the lid and wait a couple of minutes before serving.
This, to make it simple. To find out more, read the next in-depth paragraphs!

We can only start from the main ingredient. Indeed, the Ingredient, with a capital letter! We speak of course of the rice. The suitable one has grains that they keep cooking well, which do not break and keep an al dente heart. At the same time, they have to release the right amount of starch necessary to create the creams, the creamy component that binds the risotto. The famous correspond to these characteristics Carnaroli, Arborio, but also Bold And Rome: all qualities with long and large grains, are part of the category of superfine, the finest Italian rice. In particular, Carnaroli absorbs flavors well without "sagging": thus, it arrives on the table tasty and with the ideal texture. The Vialone nano: the grains are smaller (it is in fact a semi-fine), but capable of maintaining the right consistency. In addition, it has cooking times a few minutes shorter than superfines, a reason that makes it appreciated in many professional kitchens where espresso risotto can create timing problems. About times cooking: those of the risotto go 14 to 18 minutes, calculated from the first addition of liquid.

The pan
Not a high and narrow casserole, not a low and wide pan, but the right middle ground: for the risotto we use a pan preferably a straight walls, tall but still shorter than the diameter of the pot. The right materials need to distribute heat as well as they do copper And aluminum. The bottom must be thick to prevent the rice from sticking. For the same reason, good saucepans are also suitable non-stick.

The sauté
Here the question is: yes or no? And the answer is: it depends. Let's start with the most codified recipe that involves basking in the fat (typically butter, but also oil) a finely chopped onion or shallot before adding and toasting (see) the rice. This technique presents a problem: the chosen bulb must cook over moderate heat to remain soft and not take too much color. While the rice must be toasted over a decisive heat. Here then the two operations can be performed separately. So, you can make the sauté in a pan, toast the rice in another, then combine the two bases and proceed with the recipe. Columbus's egg is the technique devised by the master Gualtiero Marchesi, that of the so-called "Sour butter": in practice, a butter flavored with shallots and white wine, then filtered in order to preserve only the fat part, which is not used at the beginning but added only at the end, during the creaming phase (see). However, if you are part of the sautéed team, make sure that shallot or onion are good chopped, into pieces smaller than a grain of rice.

The roasting
Selected with great care, the rice must be treated with all the necessary precautions. During the execution of the recipe, each step aims to enhance the raw material. Starting right from the roasting, which allows in a certain sense to "seal" the beans and guarantees the seal of their "soul". This step is done by pouring the rice into the pan very hot and stirring the beans until they become translucent, almost transparent, and “sing”, that is, they creak slightly. The phenomenon is more evident if, as tradition dictates, the roasting is done in fat, in which the rice sizzles happily. However, more modern and light recipes have taken to toasting dry, simply in the pan well heated over the flame. To test if the rice is hot at the right point, you can bring your hand closer a few millimeters away (without touching it, so as not to burn yourself): you should feel a strong and almost unbearable heat that makes you lift it quickly! A pinch of salt combined in roasting, it immediately adds flavor to the beans.

The nuance
For shade it means the addition of an alcoholic liquid, in general White wine, to "turn off" the roasting. Today, many prefer to avoid this step and start directly with the broth to avoid that the preparation retains aacidity too strong. The risotto "alla Marchesi" itself is toasted and cooked by skipping this phase (the wine, evaporated, smells its sour butter). Other cooks continue to appreciate the notes, including aromatic ones, that wine brings to the finished dish: if you are among them, it is important to completely evaporate the alcohol, until the nose no longer perceives the scent.

The broth
The broth more suitable for earthen risotto is light but not completely lean: that of chicken it is a winner for the most classic Lombard recipes, while in robust Piedmontese risottos, such as the one with Barolo, it is also used beef. The broth vegetable it is however indicated in vegetable-based preparations such as risotto alla trevisana. The base of the sea ones will instead be a comic book, perhaps prepared with the scraps of fish, crustaceans and molluscs used to enrich the dish. Purists (including many haute cuisine chefs), who love to enhance the natural taste of the finest varieties to the maximum, "pull" the rice with plain water. Whatever liquid is chosen, the important thing is that it is boiling, kept on a stove set to the minimum next to the pan in which the rice is cooking. One ladle is added at a time, turning always after each addition without leaving "dry" beans on the sides of the pot. The former is expected to be consumed before joining another. It is preferable that it is not salty or is only slightly salty: both because other components of the dish, such as sausage, could be, and because a cheese is often combined during the creaming phase, which naturally brings flavor. Many have doubts about the quantity necessary: ​​generally, a measure of broth is calculated that corresponds to about 4 times the weight of the rice, abundant if you prefer on the wave, that is soft and creamy. Better to have a little more than a little less!

The additions
Depending on the recipes, there are ingredients that you bring immediately, starting from the sautéed, others that are just added before the first ladle of broth, others that are cooked apart from and / or join in the middle, still others in the end… To orient yourself, you need to consider dimensions, quality, quantity and times of cooking. Here are some examples. Not an overdose of sausage shelled, you can bask with the onion before toasting the rice, but if it is very, or very fatty, it is better to brown it separately and add it to the risotto. Pumpkin cubes, artichoke slices or others vegetables they are preferably combined with already toasted rice so as not to “interfere” with this process. THE shrimp they scampi they are still put raw only a few minutes from the end: to give flavor to the dish, you can use theirs scraps (heads and shells) for the fumet or to flavor the sauté, eliminating them before adding the rice. The saffron it dissolves in the last ladle of broth otherwise, during the long cooking, the aroma evaporates. The herbs they perfume the crucible bottom but are removed almost immediately, to prevent the leaves from dispersing in the rice and ending up under the teeth.

The creaming
It is the final stage of preparation, which takes place strictly with the fire off: it is creamed by combining one or more fatty ingredients, which are mixed until perfectly dissolved and amalgamated in the risotto. There classic creaming and with butter (also “acid”, like that of Marchesi) e parmesan grated. Butter has to be cold, just removed from the fridge: the thermal shock, which develops in contact with the heat of the rice, creates the magical "cream" that wraps the grains and binds the plate. The variations are endless. Others can be used grated cheeses like parmesan or Lodi, creamy like taleggio cheese and gorgonzola, fresh such as goats and robiole. Instead of butter, oil is of course allowed, especially suitable for delicate recipes from the vegetable garden and the sea. At the end, it is a must to taste so as to adjust, if necessary, with salt.

The rest
It takes place immediately after creaming: the pan is covered with the lid and the risotto is left to rest a minute or two, during which the creams and flavors settle. Before serving, it may be necessary to add a little more broth to the rice: did you remember, right, that you had a little more available?

How it is served
Risotto all'onda, slow and creamy, should be served in flat plate, pouring it in the center and spreading it with light strokes of the palm of the hand on the external bottom. If you like it more sustained, you can serve it in a holster or even in shape, with the help of a pastry cutter. It's time to go to the table and … good risotto for everyone!

February 2022

Pastry: big hunt for difficult ingredients – Italian Cuisine


Have you found the recipe for that cake you were looking for so much, or there is a dessert that inspires you a lot: scroll down the list of necessary ingredients and here is the intruder, the one you don't have at home and you don't know where to get … what to do?


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For years, the great masters of pastry, both Italian and non-Italian, have been publishing books where they share professional secrets and their recipes. Although designed for the general public, very often these recipes require one careful hand and special ingredients. Have you ever spent a good portion of the day trying to to find any of these ingredients? Maybe you spent an hour or two looking for them because you had no idea what they were or where to find them, only to discover that the ingredients in question were something unique, to be ordered and then resigned to waiting a week before finally being able to deal with them. that particular recipe.

Unlike the savory cuisine, where most of the time there are acceptable substitutes (who among us has not made carbonara with pancetta if the bacon was not available?) or often you can simply omit themissing element and closing it there, in the pastry shop each ingredient has its own specific place, it is a voice of the choir that – if it were missing – would make the difference. A lot.

Many pastry enthusiasts dedicate themselves to creating something truly special: those who are serious about preparing desserts know that there are ingredients – apart from the classic pantry ones we all know, the "essentials" such as milk, flour, sugar, yeast, etc. – more obscure, which, however, it would be good to have on hand, so as to be able to face any recipe.
Here you are, whether you are an experienced pastry chef or an enthusiastic apprentice, a list of 10 uncommon ingredients but present in many recipes "advanced", With their characteristics and a suggestion to find them:

Chocolate coating
Things: chocolate (dark, milk, white) with a higher percentage of butter (and therefore fat) which melts more easily. It stands out for its lucidity, and is widely used by professional pastry chefs for processes such as glazing, for pralines, for cake toppings and for ganache because it gives the finished product a smooth, uniform and creamy appearance and an authentic and unmistakable flavor. Cover chocolates come in the form of tablets, tablets or blocks.
Where is it: can be found online.

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Glucose syrup
Things: a solution based on water and corn starch, thick and viscous. It is used in the preparation of mirror glazes to ensure gloss; it is used in mousses, sugar paste, plastic chocolate, nougat, ice cream and homemade candies.
Where is it: there is no supermarket: you can find it online on professional pastry sites.

Cocoa butter
Things: a mixture of fats obtained from cocoa beans (the seeds of the cocoa tree). You can find it in drops to dissolve or in pure powder. It is used in the preparation of fillings for chocolates, in plastic chocolate for decorations, in chocolate to sprinkle on the surfaces of desserts to create velvet-effect glazes, in pandoro, etc.
Where is it: in some pastry shops, in various online shops, in natural and organic products shops, in herbalists, in some pastry shops.

Anhydrous butter
Things: water-free, contains 99% fat and allows processes that are preserved better, that do not oxidize and do not become sour.
Where is it: designed specifically for professional pastry, it is not easily available (unless you know a pastry chef): in home preparations it can be replaced by ghee.

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Invert sugar
Things: it is a mix of glucose and fructose in equal parts; it is naturally present in honey and in the most sugary fruits (especially in grape juice). This type of sugar can caramelize quickly, which results in shorter cooking times; retains water, so sweets are softer and more fragrant. It is of particular use in the production of ice cream because it lowers the freezing point. It is used in biscuits, pastry creams, spreadable chocolate.
Where is it: it is only available online.

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Agar agar
Things: a vegetable gelling substance obtained from about 32 species of red seaweed, colorless, odorless and tasteless. It is used as a vegetable gelling agent in the preparation of jams, jams, puddings, creams and fillings, gummy candies, meringues, ice cream and yogurt, sorbets, jellies for desserts. It comes in three different formats: filaments, flakes (or bars) and powder.
Where is it: in supermarkets, in organic products shops, in some herbalist's shops and in ethnic shops.

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Natural vanilla extract
Things: it is obtained by macerating the vanilla beans in alcohol. It is an essence, usually dark in color like pods, a liquid widely used to flavor sweets such as cakes, donuts, biscuits, pies, creams, ice cream and puddings
Where is it: you can buy it in all specialty shops for sweets, in organic food shops, in the most well-stocked supermarkets.

Things: it is a product derived from beetroot which appears as an odorless white substance with a crystalline structure. It can be melted at 150 ° C and fired at 180-190 ° C, obtaining a transparent appearance. For this reason it is used for glass effect decorations and can be dyed with water-soluble food dyes.
Where is it: you can find it online, in shops specializing in pastry products and can be requested at the pharmacy.

Pasteurized eggs in cartons
What are: whole eggs, but also egg yolks and whites, shelled, homogenized, pasteurized and refrigerated. They are used a lot in pastry and ice cream preparations because they are perfectly hygienic and much easier to dose (in pastry a few grams of difference can change the result).
Where is it: in the refrigerated counter of the most well-stocked supermarkets.

Edible flowers
What are: untreated flowers, belonging to the category of edible flowers (about 50 species). The edible part are the petals: you must therefore remember to carefully remove the pistils and stems. In pastry they are used to round off the flavor of creams, yogurt, ice cream and tarts or to be candied (lilac, violet, carnation, rose, angelica, jasmine, etc.)
Where is it: from some nurserymen, by requesting these specific types of flowers; some supermarkets sell trays with a selection of fresh flowers in the fruit and vegetable section. Edible flowers can also be purchased online, including on Amazon.

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January 2022
Francesca Tagliabue

Posted on 14/01/2022


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Christmas side dishes: ingredients, techniques and 8 recipes to bring to the festive table – Italian Cuisine


When you start thinking about holiday menus, you think about appetizers, ravioli, stuffed turkey, desserts … Side Dishes. In fact, vegetables & co. they prove to be the necessary completion of the great main courses, as well as being dishes appreciated by vegetarian guests who, more and more often, sit at our table. Finally say goodbye to improvised salads and boiled vegetables. The time has come to compose bring inviting and chic vegetables.

The ingredients? Seasonal!
To create superfine side dishes, the many seasonal winter products come by car. There is the whole world of cabbages, that of turnips, leafy vegetables, i artichokes, i fennel, the pumpkin. To mix with evergreens celery, carrots, onions and products grown all year round such as i mushrooms champignons or pioppini. The recipes are embellished with fresh or dried fruit, from apples to almonds, with pickles and pickles and also with the savory touches given, for example, by fillets of anchovies or from cubes of cured meat. There is also a wide choice of preparation techniques, from fried to oven, without forgetting the salads but in a richer version than ever. Are you ready to discover the 8 recipes that we have selected for you?

194042Chickpea batter sticks. Let's start with some sort of Tempura made elegant by the original coating based on legume flour. Clean a small heart of thistle by dipping the ribs, gradually, in water with the lemon juice. Also clean a small bunch of chard, discarding the green leaves (you can use them for another preparation), 3 carrots and a heart of green celery, then cut all the vegetables into sticks 15-20 cm long. Blanch them for 4-5 minutes in salted water, drain and dry them. In a bowl, mix 130 g of chickpea flour, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt. Pour in 2 dl of water, stirring with a whisk. Dip the sticks in flour 00, in the batter and fry them in hot oil. Drain them on absorbent paper and serve, to taste, with a homemade ketchup prepared with 6-8 blanched and blended dried tomatoes, a chopped and browned red onion, 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, a small boiled beetroot and a few drops of Worcester sauce. For 4 people.
194043Pecorino artichokes. I am stuffed and au gratin with a crunchy breadstick coating. Cut 8 artichokes in half lengthwise, remove the internal hay and half of the stem (keeping it aside) and dip them gradually in water with lemon juice. Drain them, arrange them in a pan lined with parchment paper and season with oil, salt, pepper, thyme and half a glass of white wine. Cover with aluminum and bake 12 minutes at 180 °. Meanwhile, melt 2 anchovy fillets in a pan with oil and a crushed clove of garlic. Add the artichoke stems into small pieces and cook for 3 minutes. Add 2-3 chopped dried tomatoes, 20 g of crumbled breadsticks and a little julienne mint. Remove from the heat, remove the garlic, add 20 g of pecorino and pepper. Stuff the artichokes with the filling, sprinkle with more pecorino and grill for 3 minutes. For 4 people.
194044Braised thistles and mushrooms. A simple combination for a side dish elegant, which tastes of wood. Clean a kilo of thistles, cut them into 10 cm pieces and dip them in water acidulated with lemon juice. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of flour in a little cold water, add 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 of lemon juice and pour the mixture into 2 liters of salted water. As soon as it boils, boil the thistles for 50 minutes. Melt 30 g of butter in a pan and add a crushed clove of garlic, an onion, a rib of celery and a chopped carrot. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, mashing the vegetables a little. Wet with a ladle of water and remove the vegetables (you can reuse them in a soup). In the aromatic cooking sauce, melt another 60 g of butter with a generous grating of nutmeg. Add 300 g of mushrooms, cleaned and halved, and 300 g of peeled pioppini. Cook, add the thistles, chopped chives and sprinkle with a ladle of hot water. Let it cook for about ten minutes. For 6 people.
194045Sprouts au gratin. Small and cute, they are scented with thyme and covered with stringy cheese. Remove a pound of Brussels sprouts of the outer leaves and the base of the core. Boil them for 15 minutes in abundant salted boiling water. Stop cooking by immersing them in cold water and drain them on kitchen paper. In a bowl, mix 6 tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of crushed black pepper and abundant thyme leaves. Transfer the sprouts to the bowl and mix so that they are well covered. Drain them, arrange them on a plate lined with baking paper and mash them with a meat grinder or with the bottom of a glass. Sprinkle them with a mixture of grated Grana Padano and Gruyère (160 g in total) and 2 tablespoons of sliced ​​almonds and bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° for 10 minutes. Serve the sprouts on the table while still hot. For 6 people.
194046Baked onions. At Christmas, even the simplest vegetables know dressing up! Peel 8 white onions and boil them in salted water until soft but not undone. Let them cool and cut them in half lengthwise. Separately chop 50 g of smoked bacon, 8 walnut kernels, the leaves of 2 rosemary sprigs and 50 g blueberries and the heart of the onions (the central 2-3 leaves). Mix everything, salt and pepper. Brush the onion boats with oil, fill them with the mince and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 200 ° for about 10 minutes. Serve hot or lukewarm. For 8 people.
194047Reinforcement salad. From the Campania tradition, the chic version of a dish that cannot be missing on the Christmas table. Clean and divide a small white and yellow cauliflower into florets. Boil them for 15 minutes in salted water. In a large bowl, collect 100 g of pitted black Gaeta olives, 2 tablespoons of pickled capers, 250 g of mixed pickled vegetables (carrot, peppers, turnip, gherkins) or 12 chopped anchovy fillets in oil. Season with ground pepper, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of oil. Add the cauliflower and mix. Blanch the leaves of a bunch of parsley, drain, let them cool and chop them in a blender with a bunch of chives, 6 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt. Let the reinforcement salad rest in a cool place for a few hours before serving it with the parsley oil added at the last minute. For 4 people.
194048Mixed salad with quinces. The unusual apples complete a winter mix, candied and caramelized. Peel 2 small quinces, cut them into wedges, remove the cores and place them in a saucepan with 5 dl of water, 2 lemon zest, a pinch of salt, 200 g sugar and 2 peppercorns. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over a very low heat for 2 hours. Let cool, drain the apples and put them in a bowl. Filter the cooking syrup, pour it over the apples, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, peel and wash 1 small head of Treviso radicchio and one of Belgian endive. Peel a stalk of white celery and one of green celery, peel 100 g of celeriac and cut into sticks. Mix the salad leaves with the sticks and season with a drizzle of oil, a few drops of vinegar, a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of pepper. Drain the quinces, add them to the salad and serve. For 4 people.
194049Pan of turnips and fennel. I am frosted with sugar and butter, which form an enveloping cream. Peel 4 small turnips and cut them into four wedges. Peel and wash 12 radishes, cut the larger ones in half and leave the small ones whole. Peel 2 fennel, keeping the green barbine aside, and cut them into wedges. Peel 6 small shallots. Melt a knob of butter in a large pan, add all the prepared vegetables and brown them gently for 2-3 minutes until they begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper, add 100 ml of water, 100 ml of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue cooking in a covered pot and medium heat for 8-9 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked al dente. Uncover the pan, raise the heat and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the cooking juices have reduced to a syrupy consistency and the vegetables begin to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the fennel barbine kept aside and serve. For 4 people.

December 2021

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