Just a few weeks into our blog and we get product sent to our door to cook and sample. What a dream! Thank you Kiki Luthringshausen and Viola Imports – the gorgeous tin of Acquerello rice arrived all the way to my doorstep in Canada! Rice from Piemonte, Italy – I can tie this challenge into a few different stories; the first being that my family simply loves risotto. We’ve been in many a restaurant where the only appealing choice for my kids is risotto. My husband always orders risotto in Italian restaurants, in every part of the world; I think it brings him a sense of familiarity and comfort with its warm creaminess. Piemonte, the region of origin of Acquerello rice, will forever live in our happy family memories as we took an extended holiday to this region one summer. We stayed in a converted farm house that boasted an infinity pool overlooking the vineyards all over the valley. It was paradise of its own kind. The only other guests at the farmhouse had a connection to my brother! What are the chances? This guy was completing his sommelier training with Jason’s sommelier at the time. One night, we travelled to a traditional restaurant, on a hilltop, near the town of Bra (home to the Slow Food movement). We drank wine with the vineyard proprietors and savored the early evening sun.
Risotto also reminds me of the time, many years ago, I happened upon a Canadian morning television show during its cooking segment. Hey! That’s my brother! He’s cooking risotto! Cool! There was a young Jason, explaining to the host the wonders of shallots to make almost anything special. I couldn’t have been more proud. Do you remember this Jay? He was cooking risotto, still a novelty to most of us, all dressed in his whites.
I thought of recreating the risotto wheel this weekend, however, I decided to use Jason’s recipe to see just how it worked leaving the rice to cool and adding the acid butter. Yes, I made the acid butter (vinegar reducing certainly clears the sinuses) and is was worth it. My only change was 1 bulb of fennel versus 2; I wasn’t entirely sure how my kids would react to its flavor. I made crab cakes to serve with the risotto and added fresh pea shoots upon serving. My son’s reaction was, “this meal is phenomenal”. Our drop by visitors cleared the plate of remaining crab cakes and made me promise I would post the recipe first thing today. The Acquerello rice made the meal extraordinary; the risotto was perfect.
Crab Cakes & Risotto served with a well chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
Lamb & Risotto served with Domaines Ott, Chateau de Selle (Rose Coeur de Grain).