A hellish day. Drama! Worry, tears, anger, fretting... don't bother yourself about the details but suffice it to say that mothering a teenage daughter is no walk in the park, no indeed, especially if that teenage daughter is sensitive to the world, missing her father, and hard on herself.
All is well. Everybody safe, drama over, faces washed, naps taken.
Tonight, I'll cook Risotto -- it's a comfort food. Today, I'll share my super-special recipe with you.
Risotto al Venezia
This rather vague recipe was taught to us by Francesco Appollonia who owned the Caffé Orientale, a fine Venetian restaurant (in Venice), for many years. It's a softer, slurpier risotto than the stuff I've tasted in most American restaurants. It's easy, though practice is the only way to gain confidence with the measurements and the ingredients. I’ve given you an estimation and two approaches: stock or bouillon. Both are fantastic.
This recipe will serve three. Or two VERY hungry people.
- Mushrooms and/or Onions and/or Vegetables of some kind. (Let’s say 1 onion and around 1 lb. portobello and button mushrooms. Or chicken and onion, or red pepper and zucchini and mushroom... Our friend Linda, Francesco’s wife, did it once with cauliflower.)
- Olive oil
- Risotto (Vialone Nano is best -- it has the firmest texture. The Spanish paella rice Alcazar is also fine.)
- Garlic (2 cloves)
- Salt and pepper
- 2-3 handfuls Parsley (Once again, feel free to experiment. I’ve used minced arugula)
- 2-3 handfuls grated parmesan or asiago cheese
- 1-2 Tablespoons butter
- Either: vegetarian bouillon cube or 4 cups stock
- If you have some open white wine in the fridge, that's a nice addition
If using bouillon, boil a large pot of water. If using stock, heat in covered pot and put a small pot of water on to boil as a backup. Do your prep work: slice mushrooms, etc. Grate cheese. Chop parsley.
Heat 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil in a big pot. Sauté onions and mushrooms, etc. at medium high heat. Reduce.
Salt and pepper. Add garlic.
Add 5 or so handfuls risotto. The general rule is 1 per person and one for the pot. Cook at medium high for 2 or so minutes.
Add enough ladles full of boiling water or stock to JUST cover the rice. Boil uncovered stirring very often adding small amount of fluid (including wine) as needed. If using bouillon, add 1/2 cube after ten minutes and taste, add more as needed.
Continue to cook. If you are using stock and run out, switch to back-up water.
Cook until ready, about 25-30 minutes. Add butter, parmesan and parsley. Stir vigorously and serve.
I'm not doing the dairy thang right now so I'll skip the last step and simply serve it with a dish of butter and bowl of grated cheese on the table. People (and by "people" I mean my daughter and her best friend and I) can mix their own to taste.
And I will have some wine.
I need it.
This parenting thing... no details. But let's just say it's not for the faint of heart.