I planted two basil plants this year and have been overwhelmed with basil. I've been throwing it into all sorts of things but, of course, nothing uses basil quite so well as pesto. So, with that in mind, I selected this risotto recipe out of Jamie Oliver's new cookbook Jamie's Italy. It is a basic risotto recipe. He starts with having you saute some celery and onion (yes, I used onion!) and some garlic. Then you add the rice and saute until fragrant. A few glasses of white wine. Yes, strangely, he has you measure the wine by the wineglass. Odd, I know. But it tells me that this recipe is one you can play with. There's no need to be absolutely perfect, more or less wine and it will still taste good. Then you do the risotto thing and add chicken broth a little at a time while stirring to get a good creamy texture. After all the chicken broth is incorporated you add a few tablespoons of butter and a heaping handful of Parmesan. Then you let it sit for five minutes. Let me say, that this was the BEST risotto I've ever made. So creamy and rich in flavor. It almost didn't need the pesto.
The pesto was also a forgiving recipe. I made it in my blender. Basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt, Parmesan, pepper . . . whirled together with a bit of olive oil. When serving you ladle the risotto into your bowl and then dollop a bit of pesto in the middle. Believe it or not, this simple rice dish was very filling. A meal unto itself and, again, SO GOOD!
Monday, July 13, 2009
I saw the picture of these tuna meatballs in Jamie Oliver's Italian cookbook and had to make them. They just looked soooooooo good, never mind that I was a little weirded out by putting cinnamon in savory Italian cooking. But I followed the recipe exactly, using some nice frozen tuna steaks and simmering my own homemade sauce, all according to the directions. All in all, they weren't bad. Not quite as tasty as beef meatballs but definitely good. I think, though, in the end I would prefer to keep my tuna in Giada's sandwich (see below) rather than in these meatballs.
at 6:10 PM
Sunday, July 5, 2009
On vacation I overdosed on the Food Network. You see, we don't have television in our house so vacation is an opportunity to experience what the rest of America experiences . . . Cable!!!! And the Food Network, of course, is my channel of choice. Everything from the Barefoot Contessa to the Iron Chef thrills me. So, I was inspired to try a few new recipes and found them on the Food Network's website. The first was a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis. Swordfish Panini with Arugala and Lemon Aioli. Only, for some reason when I went to Whole Foods I balked at buying swordfish. It looked so steak-like and I tend to like my fish a little lighter and flakier. So, I went with mahi mahi.
The first thing I did was make homemade focaccia. It was an online recipe and was a whole wheat version. I was NOT impressed. It wasn't as thick as I would have liked it and it was a little harshly flavored with rosemary. But I was stuck with it since I wasn't about to run to the store to buy some after all my hard work!
Next I made the aioli. This was easy. The only thing I did differently was that instead of chopping the garlic for the aioli, I used my rasp and grated it. I think this gives a more consistent garlic flavor to dressings and sauces. You also don't get a big chunk of garlic when you don't want it.
Then I cooked the mahi mahi and quickly assembled the sandwiches. I served them with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes. These sandwiches were fabulous! The aioli is flavorful and complements the flavors of the fish. I loved the use of herbes de Provence too. The ONLY problem was that the mahi mahi had some bones in it. It's not really fun to pick bones out of a fish sandwich, I admit. My son found this too terrifying. He was so afraid of choking on a bone that he refused to eat it even though he had liked it at first. So, next time (and there will be a next time) I will make this with swordfish which I'm guessing is more likely to be bone free.
at 5:23 PM