I just love cookery books that you can pick up, cook from and the recipes work every time, and Light of Lucia, so far is proving to be one of those sort of books, packed not only with gorgeous recipes like this risotto with red peppers, it is also has a fabulous tale to tell.
I know I bang on about this, but I am really easily bored by main stream cookery books, I want a cookery book to lure me in, take me away to another place, I want to smell the dishes, taste the dishes and feel where they are from. A very romantic notion I know, but that’s me.
This book really tells the most beautiful story of a little girl, growing up and being guided by her Nonna in the ways of life through cookery. Generation after generation of Nonna’s have done just this and I am so proud that my daughter is following in my footsteps and cooking for people she loves to show how she cares about them. I am a very proud Mamma.
3 red capsicums (peppers)
1.2 litres chicken brodo (chicken stock), if you are making this for vegetarians just use vegetable brodo/stock instead.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
60g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
350g carnaroli, arborio or vialone nano rice (I always use arborio)
360ml dry white wine, plus extra for the cook !!!
50g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra for serving
100g soft goat’s cheese
Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/Gas 6.
Place the peppers on a foil-lined tray and bake for 30 minutes or until the skins have blackened. The smell is truly amazing. When they are done, remove them from the oven, cover with foil and leave until cool enough to handle. Peel, remove seeds and tear or cut into strips.
Bring the stock to the boil, then reduce to a very low heat and keep simmering until ready to use.
Place the oil into a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium head, add 50g of the butter and onion and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, or until translucent. Add the rice and stir for 3 – 4 minutes, coating each grain with the oil. As the rice begins to absorb the oil and becomes translucent, add the wine and stir until it has evaporated and the strong smell of the alcohol is gone. Stir in the peppers, then add a ladleful of hot stock and stir until it has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, one ladleful at a time. After about 18 – 20 minutes, the grains of rice should be plump and firm. It may need to cook for another few minutes. Just try a forkful and see if it is done. When ready, remove from the heat and stir in another ladleful of stock. (Don’t worry; the rice is still cooking and you will need the extra bit of creaminess.) Stir in the remaining butter, season to taste, then add the parmesan and goat’s cheese. Let it stand for a minute or so. Then pour into a serving dish, sprinkle with a little more parmesan and serve immediately. In our house a little more parmesan normally means a mountain of parmesan and for Hubby and I a mountain of lovely freshly ground pepper.
Now there are two ways of thinking when making the perfect risotto, in our house it is done both ways. Hubby leans towards chucking all the stock in, in one go, I on the other hand do it the old school way and ladle, but both ways always seems to work fine, so its up to you. One thing though, a true Italian would never ever NOT ladle. Food for thought!!!