This risotto is made with two products from Calabria, a region in Southern Italy: the bergamot whose taste is less sour but more bitter than lemon, and the red onion of Tropea, of extraordinary sweetness and with a delicate scent.
The Bergamot comes from a short stretch of land in the Reggio Calabria Province, along the Ionian Sea coast. The red onion instead is cultivated in the area around Tropea, a small city by the Tyrrhenian Sea, known for its clifftop historic center, and for stunning beaches.
This week our sweet and dear friend Alessandra, who is also an excellent and refined cooker, shows us how to prepare the Tomato risotto.
Do you want to introduce yourself, telling us where you are originally from?
Hi there, my name is Alessandra, I am Italian, although… my mother was half Swedish and half Hungarian and I was born in Cile and grown up in several different countries.
Talking about food, what’s your favorite Italian recipe which you prepare often and easily?
I am not a pasta person, I like it but … well, I prefer rice, in all its variants, Italian or not. But I have 4 boys at home, and if I am depriving them of pasta it has to be risotto!
I have never been a lover of Risotto with Tomato sauce, which is an aberration compared to Pasta and have never done it at home. I have always prepared risotto with mushrooms, or saffron or zucchini or … any variant you might think of, so imagine my surprise when while living in Jerusalem at the beautiful Colony Hotel – whose restaurant is the best in the city – my husband chooses to order “risotto al pomodoro”!!!!
Of all great choices in the menu, risotto al pomodoro????
I was speechless….
But then the dish arrived, I must say it looked nice with the basil leaves on the top and that final finishing of just a bit of olive oil… still I was not convinced.
Then Lio (my husband) took the first bit and his eyes light up… it was delicious!
I tasted it reluctantly and was astonished, it was really good!!! We debated all dinner how to reproduce it and a few days later I made it and discovered that it was really easy.
Since then I make it very often and my older sons are also doing it for their friends at the university abroad, it has been quite a success!
It is super easy to prepare, 20 mins tops and its ready, but it requires you full attention. For those 20 mins you have one job and one job only: stir the rice!
Our Italian friend Silvia from New Zealand (very far from us! 🙂 ) sent us her version of Mushroom Risotto.
But first of all let’s go meet her.
Do you want to introduce yourself?
My name is Silvia Canessa and I am 43. I have 2 boys Riccardo 12 and Lorenzo 10 and a black labrador Maia. We moved to Wellington, New Zealand, 8 years ago. I am originally from Livorno, Toscana.
What’s your favourite Italian recipe which you use to prepare often and easily?
My favourite recipe is Cacciucco, but I can’t do it here because I can’t find the ingredients.
What I cook very often is the mushroom risotto because here it is very easy to find fresh mushrooms.
(The Cacciucco is a traditional fish stew associated with the two seaside towns Livorno and Viareggio – Tuscany. This poor but delicious and tasty dish, is made with a wide variety of Mediterranean fish such as shellfish, scorpionfish, small clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari. cuttlefish, octopus, bream, mullet. According to tradition, to prepare a good Cacciucco you should have at least five different types of fish, one for each letter c in cacciucco.
The best restaurants where you can taste this dish are Trattoria 11 – Livorno and Ristorante Conti Montenero – Livorno.)
What product do you miss mostly from Italy?
I miss the mozzarella, you can buy it here but it’s extremely expensive and not so tasty and fresh as the Italian one.
Asparagus was cultivated by the Romans as early as 2500 years ago. This vegetable is nowadays still a key element in the Italian kitchen for its versatility, flavour and healthy properties.
Fresh asparagus is available in Italy from March to June, and is a symbol of the arrival of spring like no other vegetable.
We all love the spring feeling and the new energy asparagus gives us, so let’s celebrate this season with what we consider one of the best asparagus-based Italian dishes: the “Risotto with asparagus”